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Urgent Interventions

Kazakhstan : Condemnation of Mr. Sergei Duvanov


KAZ 001/0802/OBS 053.02
New information
13 March 2003

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and
the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), request your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Kazakhstan.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed that Mr. Sergei Duvanov, chief
editor of the news bulletin "Human Rights in Kazakhstan and in the
world" published by the Kazakhstan-based International Bureau for
Human Rights and the Rule of Law (KIBHRL), was sentenced on March 11,
2003, on appeal, to three years and a half in prison, for the alleged
rape of a minor.

Mr Duvanov was arrested on October 28, 2002, on the day he was
scheduled to depart for the United States to discuss the situation of
human rights and democracy in Kazakhstan.
On October 29, he began a hunger strike, but was obliged to break it
off shortly afterwards due to ill health. On November 6, 2002, he was
formally charged with raping a minor.

The trial began on December 2, and on January 28, 2003, Karasai
district court found Mr Duvanov guilty under Article 120, part 2,
paragraph D of the Criminal Code (rape of a minor with prior
knowledge of the age), sentencing him to three years and a half in
prison. Acording to Duvanov's lawyers, numerous procedural violations
were registered during the trial, which should have lead to the
dismissal of the case. Several days before the verdict, Duvanov
dismissed his lawyers, citing the obvious lack of independance of
judges, in particular the President who seemed to have made the
decision long before the announcement of the sentence.

During the appeal case, international observers who had asked
permission to attend the hearing were denied admittance at the time
that the verdict was rendered.

The Observatory recalls that the European Parliament passed a
resolution on February 13, 2003, demanded Duvanov's immediate release
and voiced deep concern about the investigation, prosecution and
sentence. The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) on
January 28, 2003, also criticized the legal irregularities and lack
of evidence supporting the charges and urged the appeal court to take
account of these shortcomings when it considered the case.

In view of past acts of repression against Sergei Duvanov and the
numerous irregularities during his trial, the Observatory considers
Mr Duvanov's detention to be arbitrary, since it only aims at
sanctioning his activities in favour of human rights and democracy in

Background information:

Mr Duvanov had already been the victim of numerous acts of
intimidation, such as physical assault in August 2002, shortly before
he was intending to travel to Warsaw to attend the OSCE's annual
human rights conference where he had to intervene on the situation of
human rights in Kazakhstan. In July 2002, legal proceedings were
brought against him for articles written "infringing the honour and
dignity of the President". At the same time, his apartment and his
office were searched by investigators and his computers and numerous
papers were confiscated

Actions requested:

Please write to the Kazakh authorities urging them to:

i. Immediately release Mr Duvanov due to the arbitrariness of his

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment and violence against Human
Rights Defenders and ensure the implementation of the provisions of
the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN general
Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its article 1, which
provides that "everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection
and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the
national and international levels" and article 6. b: "everyone has
the right individually and in association with others, freely to
publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and
knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms";

iii. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms
in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and
other international instruments ratified by Kazakhstan.


Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Adress: 473000 Astana, Beibitshilik 11
Fax: 007 / 3172 / 32 61 82, e-mail:

Office of Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Prime Minister: Imangali TASMAGAMBETOV
Adress: 473000 Astana, Beibitshilik 11
Fax: 007 / 3172 / 32 40 89, e-mail Protocol:

Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan,
Minister: Kairbek SULEIMENOV
Adress: 473000 Astana, Manasa 4
Fax: 007 / 3172 / 37 17 38, Tel./ Fax: 007 / 3172 / 37 36 01

Paris, Geneva, 13th March 2003

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the
code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the
protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete
support in their time of need.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the
French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax: FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax: OMCT: (+41 22) 809 49 39 / 809 49 29
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