No later than June 6, the Government of Kazakhstan must respond to the accusation of arbitrary detention and human rights violations related to Mr. Massimov, in accordance with the charter of the UN Working Group (1).

For the first time following the illegal detention of Karim Massimov, a legal analysis of the accompanying circumstances is to be published. Violations of the law committed during the investigation continue to be recorded.

Responding to the requests of Kazakhstani human rights defenders and lawyers, we publish excerpts from the petition. We hope that the work of highly qualified lawyers will help to release not only Karim Massimov, but also all citizens of Kazakhstan who were subjected to illegal criminal prosecutions in connection with the events of January. While innocent people are behind bars, the January tragedy persists.

According to international norms and Kazakhstani legislation, all evidence presented by the prosecution is considered invalid if it is obtained in violation of the law. To be clear, we are talking about illegal detentions and arrests, non-admission of lawyers, torture, official forgery and secret courts classified as “Top Secret”.


Mr. Massimov, who was twice Prime Minister of Kazakhstan and a prominent politician, was arrested and detained by the security forces of Kazakhstan around January 5, 2022 amid large-scale political unrest in the country. For 72 days, he was held incommunicado without access to his family members, his chosen lawyer or doctor. His family knows nothing about the conditions in which he is held.

Within a few days after Mr. Massimov’s initial detention, the National Security Committee (2) issued a series of vague statements to the press confirming that Mr. Massimov was detained during the investigation on charges of committing “treason”, “attempt to seize power” and “abuse of power”.

On January 8, 2022, an unnamed and unidentified judicial body allegedly authorized the continued pre-trial detention of Mr. Massimov. The original ruling and its reasons were not made public. The date of his trial has not yet been set.

The arbitrary nature of Mr. Massimov’s imprisonment is obvious due to the lack of any legal grounds for his arrest and detention, as well as gross violations of due process that have characterized the trial against him so far.

The arrest and detention of Mr. Massimov are part of the larger suppression of political opponents in Kazakhstan. Faced with large-scale unrest, the authorities went to detain thousands of people whose guilt has not been established (3). By initiating an unfounded criminal trial against Mr. Massimov, detaining him before trial, the authorities use the charges against Mr. Massimov as a pretext to suppress any political threat he may pose. The only possible conclusion is that the arrest and detention of Mr. Massimov are politically motivated.

Mr. Massimov’s case meets the criteria of the Working Group regarding arbitrary detention (4) under categories I and III of the Working Group’s methods of work: (1) Kazakhstan cannot specify any legal basis, arrest and detention of Mr. Massimov (category I violation); and (2) non-compliance with international fair trial standards is so serious that it makes imprisonment arbitrary (category III violation).

Given all the circumstances, the available information constitutes a “sufficiently reliable” argument that Mr. Massimov was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty and that the continuation of such deprivation of liberty poses a serious threat to his health, physical or psychological integrity and/or his life.

The UN Working Group adopted the relevant petition and, taking into account the serious issues raised therein, applied its urgent action procedure so that the petition could be considered urgently to ensure respect for Mr. Massimov’s right to life and to physical and mental integrity.


1. Resolutions 1997/50, 2000/36 and 2003/31 were adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights to extend the mandate of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Human Rights Council, which “acquired … all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights.” in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251, General Assembly Resolution 60/251, §6 (15 March 2006), extended its mandate through Resolutions 6/4, 15/18, 20/16, 24/7, 33/30 and 42/22

2. National Security Committee, Press Statement, January 8, 2022: https://www.gov.kz/memleket/entities/knb/press/news/details/309530? Lang=kk; Security Committee, Press Statement, January 13, 2022: https://www. gov.kz/memleket/entities/ knb/press/news/details/311845? Lang=kk

3. Human Rights Watch, “Kazakhstan: Arbitrary arrests and beatings of protesters”, February 1, 2022: https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/02/01/kazakhstan-protesters-arbitrally-arrested- beaten; Amnesty International, “Kazakhstan: The authorities must release arbitrarily detained protesters and respect human rights in the context of ongoing riots”, January 12, 2022: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/01/kazakhstan- authorities-must-release- arbitrarily-detained-protestors-and-respect-human-rights-amid-ongoingay- unrest; The protest, “The President of Kazakhstan said that he issued an order “open fire to kill”, January 7, 2022-kaas.the-de-de-dor-de-

4. UN General Assembly, Working methods of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, A/HRC/33/66, July 12, 2016, §8