ProtectDefenders.eu is supporting the monitoring of the trial against human rights defenders Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan in Atyrau (Kazakhstan), carried out by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT—FIDH partnership) and several local and national and international human rights organisations.
According to the Observatory, “the criminal cases against Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan appear to be aimed at punishing them because of their criticism of the Land Code reform and at sending a chilling message to civil society in the country" Therefore, the Observatory urged the Kazakhstani authorities "to ensure that the proceedings are carried out in full compliance with the right to a fair trial, as guaranteed by international law and to acquit the two defenders”.
The Observatory denounced the judicial harassment and the arbitrary detention of Max Bokayev, a prominent civil society activist who heads the NGO “Arlan”, and Talgat Ayan, a lawyer and activist, have been ongoing since 17 May 2016. On that day, they were both arrested in Atyrau in retaliation for their crucial role in the peaceful protests against controversial amendments to Kazakhstan’s Land Code that took place in Kazakhstan in April and May, as well as their critical statements on this issue on social media platforms. In response to the peaceful land reform protests, the Kazakhstani authorities adopted a predominantly repressive approach including by detaining well-known civic activists and civil society leaders, as well as by refusing to grant authorisation for peaceful rallies.