Court moves jailed oil worker Roza

A court has decided to move Roza Tuletaeva, the activist oil worker serving a five year jail sentence in Kazakhstan, to a prison with better conditions.

The court in Atyrau, western Kazakhstan, decided today that Tuletaeva will go to a “settlement colony” – probably best translated as “open prison” – from the ordinary prison where she has been for more than two years.

The move comes after trade union organisations all over the world bombarded the Kazakh authorities with protests against the jailing of Tuletaeva and other activists.

The decision was taken by the president of the Atyrau district court no. 2, judge Z. Kazakbaya, the news site Vlast.kz reported. Tuletaeva is due for release on 2 January 2017. Tuletaeva and at least four others were jailed – under the catch-all charge of “inciting social discord” – for their part in organising the seven-month oil workers’ strike in 2011.

The strike ended with a violent crackdown by security forces on 16 December 2011 at Zhanaozen, in which at least 16 people were killed and 60 wounded. The second anniversary of the killings were marked by solidarity demonstrations across the former Soviet Union and in western European countries.

The campaign to free the jailed activists will continue. There is plenty of information about it on this site here and a detailed article about the 2011 strike here.

■ Meanwhile in Russia – where every reporter who can get in front of a microphone has been telling you about the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot band members – a series of political trials of activists is underway.

There are 27 activists still facing charges after the big demonstrations on 6 May 2012, when president Putin was inaugurated for this third term. The orderly demonstration was broken up by violent police units, who arrested hundreds of people – and charged many of them with “rioting” and similar offences that carry lengthy sentences.

The trials are hardly mentioned in the western media. But at least today the visit to court by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot, to give their support to the defendants, was reported here. The 6 May Defence Committee site has pages in English here. GL.

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