Сөз бостандығын қорғау халықаралық қоры
Международный фонд защиты свободы слова
The International Foundation for Freedom of Speech Protection

Administrative case on the attack on Diana Saparkyzy has been terminated

Download 28 october 2023

On August 18, security guards from ArcelorMittal Temirtau company attacked a journalist who was covering the aftermath of the fire at the Kazakhstanskaya mine. The attack was being investigated under two articles: causing minor harm to health and (Interfering with legal professional activity of journalist with the use of force or threat. On October 27, the administrative proceedings were terminated by the court due to the lack of evidence of the offense.

On October 27, the Specialized Court for Administrative Offenses of the city of Shakhtinsk in the Karaganda region heard the case of intentional infliction of minor harm to the health of the correspondent of KazTAG, Diana Saparkyzy.

The accused in the case is Boris Tirkin, a security guard at the Kazakhstanskaya coal mining company ArcelorMittal Temirtau. Recall that on August 18, security guards from ArcelorMittal Temirtau attacked Diana Saparkyzy while she was covering the aftermath of the fire at the Kazakhstanskaya mine.

Boris Tirkin took the journalist's phone, deleted the recorded video, while another security guard was holding Diana. Forensic medical examination revealed that the journalist had suffered minor injuries due to a bruise on her left shoulder.

The journalist filed a statement with the Department of Police of the Karaganda region to initiate a criminal case under Article 158, Part 2 of the Criminal Code (Interfering with legal professional activity of journalist with the use of force or threat). 

On August 20, the Shakhtinsk city police only drew up a protocol on an administrative offense against one security guard, Boris Tirkin, under Article 73-1, Part 1 of the On Administrative Infractions (Intentional infliction of slight damage to health).

The police did not identify any other individuals involved in the incident, despite the fact that Tirkin, in his explanation, mentioned that « WE then escorted her out of the protected facility».

On September 8, the journalist finally received a message about the initiation of a pre-trial investigation into the obstruction of her legal professional activities. On September 22, the administrative court took the case of accusing Boris Tirkin of causing slight damage to health into its proceedings.

On September 29, at the request of the journalist's lawyer, the case was suspended until the resolution of the criminal case under Article 158. However, on October 26, the court deemed it necessary to reopen the administrative case, as Tirkin was only considered a witness in the criminal investigation.

«We learned about this court hearing yesterday. We did not expect such a turn of events because we had previously asked the court to only suspend this case until the criminal case is completed», said Diana's lawyer, Shirin Amirgalieva to Azattyk.

Boris Tirkin did not admit his guilt in causing slight damage to health. The court found Tirkin's arguments about not inflicting physical injuries on Diana Saparkyzy to be valid, as they were supported by video recordings, as stated in the court's decision.

On October 27, Judge E. Ushbaev terminated the proceedings against Tirkin due to the lack of evidence of an administrative offense.
The journalist and her lawyer are concerned that the termination of the administrative case may lead to the closure of the criminal case. Diana's lawyer intends to appeal the decision of the administrative court.

The case of interfing with the journalist's legal professional activities, as requested by Diana, is still under investigation.

Commentary from the Adil Soz Foundation:

Earlier, in an open appeal to the Prosecutor General, the International Foundation for Freedom of Speech  Protection «Adil Soz» drew attention to Article 742 of the Administrative Code, which stipulates that administrative proceedings should be terminated if there are signs of a criminal offense as defined by criminal law.

After the mentioned open appeal, the criminal case was finally initiated, but for some reason, the administrative proceedings continued in parallel, which is legally absurd.

And this legal absurdity led to a similarly unlawful outcome. While a criminal investigation is ongoing against the ArcelorMittal Temirtau security guard for obstructing the journalist's lawful professional activities with the use of violence, the administrative court terminated the proceedings against the same security guard for the intentional infliction of minor harm to health due to the absence of elements of an administrative offense in his actions.

Initially, the court suspended the administrative proceedings, but then, as the investigation within the criminal case intentionally did not assign the status of a suspect to the guard for an extended period, the administrative proceedings in court against the security guard were resumed.

The court concluded in its decision that the guard's guilt supposedly was not proven, and thus, he allegedly did not use violence against the journalist or cause harm to her health.

The court, naturally, did not inquire about the origin of the journalist's bruise at that very moment. If the court's decision on administrative offenses becomes legally binding, it may lead to the final closure of the criminal case. The court issued its decision regarding the ArcelorMittal Temirtau security guards yesterday, and today, another tragic incident occurred at a different ArcelorMittal Temirtau mine, resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries to miners.

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