Marat Turymbetov, born on 3 March 1969, civic activist, human rights defender, blogger, a resident of Almaty
Citizenship: Republic of Kazakhstan
Education: incomplete higher education
Category I disabled person. Chronic kidney disease, end-stage 5 chronic glomerulonephritis (chronic haemodialysis using an artificial kidney), hypertension.
Mr. Turymbetov is a principled supporter of peaceful means of work in the field of human rights, an organizer of campaigns for human rights and strict compliance by the state authorities with the legislation and Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan. An unwavering supporter of the democratization of society and respect for citizens’ rights and freedom of speech. One of the organizers of peaceful actions and rallies in support of political prisoners and persons subjected to political persecution in Kazakhstan. An active participant in various international, regional human rights conferences and round tables. One of the initiators of the establishment of the Kazakhstan Coalition for Civil Initiatives. A promoter of the ideas of democracy and human rights on Facebook. Maker of videos about the need for political change.
On 20 July 2020, Mr. Turymbetov was brought to the police and questioned as a witness with a right to defence in a case of “dissemination of deliberately false information in a state of emergency” (section 4 of article 274 of the Criminal Code). The reason for the questioning was Mr. Turymbetov’s publishing of critical posts on Facebook regarding dubious practices that Zhylstroysberbank of Kazakhstan JSC adopted in their procurement of goods, works and services. The ground for a criminal case is very dubious. It is unknown who authored the multiple posts and publications, while Mr. Turymbetov simply published reposts and links to sources of information.
According to Mr. Turymbetov, during the investigation of this criminal case the Almaty city police department made numerous procedural violations. During the questioning, Mr. Turymbetov, a category I disabled person, was kept for six hours with no access to drugs that he must be taking as a life-supporting measure at strictly defined time intervals. The criminal case based on the bank’s lawsuit was initiated on 20 April 2020, and on 5 May 2020, which is a short period of time, the Almaty city police department already had in their possession an opinion of a psychologist and a philologist that the information posted did contain the elements that might give occasion to discreditation of the complainant (the bank) and damage its business reputation. In violation of all procedural standards, Mr. Turymbetov was familiarized with the results of the expert examination only on 20 July 2020. During a search of his apartment, various pieces of electronics and smartphones of all family members, as well as of Mr. Turymbetov’s children, were illegally seized.
Mr. Turymbetov is one of the organizers of a political party called “OUR RIGHT.” The authorities of Almaty had done everything to stop the party from being created, including sabotaging the party foundation congress with the help of the Almaty city police department. Due to the fact that during that period Mr. B. Baibek, Almaty city mayor, at the same time the head of the Almaty city branch of Nur Otan (a pro-President party – translator’s note), Mr. Turymbetov and several other activists, viewing that fact as a blatant display of unethical political competition aimed at squashing any motivated and tightly-organized political opponents to Nur Otan, in May 2019 filed a lawsuit complaining that Nur Otan had set up barriers preventing their party from being established. As a result, Mr. Turymbetov has been persecuted by law enforcement on multiple occasions.
Before a court judgement could be issued in the aforementioned lawsuit, Nur Otan themselves toward the end of September 2019 filed a lawsuit against the civic activists claiming that they (the activists) had engaged in the dissemination of false information in the mass media claiming that Nur Otan had set barriers against the establishment, by Ms. S. Zakirova, Mr. A.Ilyashev, and M.Turymbetov, of the OUR RIGHT party. The proceedings on the claim resulted in that the court adjudicated: “To obligate the defendants to publish a rebuttal of their information by way of posts on their personal Facebook pages.” As followed from the judgment, Mr. Ilyashev, Ms. Zakirova and Mr. Turymbetov had within ten calendar days of the judgment coming into legal force to publish on their personal Facebook pages the following text: “The information that I disseminated, of Nur Otan allegedly preventing the OUR RIGHT political party from being established, is not true.”
The activists were obligated, as a matter of joint liability, to pay to each of the four claimants on behalf of Nur Otan, an amount of one and a half million tenge as moral damages. The activists were also obligated each to pay an amount of five thousand tenge as court fees. The Almaty city court dismissed an appeal the civic activists filed to challenge the first-instance court’s judgement whereby they were obligated to pay a total of six million tenge (or approximately 16,000 US dollars) to four Nur Otan party members.
In 2017, Mr. Turymbetov was accused of stealing his own car, and was found guilty under section 3 of article 24 and subsection 2 of section 4 of article 190 of the Criminal Code (Fraud) with a suspended sentence of two years and six months. When issuing its verdict, the court accounted for Mr. Turymbetov’s disability and replaced the actual imprisonment with a restriction of freedom. In March 2019, after a review of Mr. Turymbetov’s violation of his probation, the Turksib district court for the city of Almaty ruled to replace the previous sentence with a one year and four months imprisonment.
Today, there is a court order that has come into legal force in respect of Mr. Turymbetov of his release from prison on account of his grave ailment, and he has been under probation supervision by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a term of three years.
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
27 July 2020