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

Journalists of five well-known publications were removed from the military court session in Astana

19 march 2024

On March 18 the presiding judge of the Astana Military Court Zhandos Musabekuly removed journalists of five editorial offices (KTK, Astana, UlysMedia, BesMedia, sotrepot.kz) from the courtroom from the open trial because one of the parties objected to photography and video filming.    
According to Sotrepot.kz court reporter Kira Preis, the presiding judge Zh. Musabekuly promised that journalists would be provided with a broadcast of the session in another office. The broadcast went down for almost 40 minutes with extremely poor sound quality. The process was not interrupted during this time. 

The press service of the military court Aziza Sali explained to UlysMedia correspondents that the lack of sound in the broadcast from the courtroom was due to a technical failure.

The journalists announced their intention to file a complaint with the Supreme Court. 
Recall that the Military Court of Astana is considering an appeal in the corruption case on the supply of videoconferencing equipment to the Ministry of Defence in the amount of 181 440 000 tenge. Three defendants (Zhumakasov, Tumenbayev, Toktamsova), including the head of the Department of the Ministry of Defence were sentenced by the court of first instance to seven and eight years in prison.

Commentary from the Adil Soz Foundation:
In accordance with paragraph 1 of the Normative Resolution of the Supreme Court dated December 6, 2002, No. 25 «About respect for the principle of publicity of criminal law of procedure» the principle of publicity of judicial proceedings, enshrined in Article 29 of the Criminal Procedure Code (hereinafter - CPC), together with other principles, ensures the implementation of the tasks of criminal proceedings aimed at exposing and bringing to justice persons who have committed crimes, ensuring fair judicial proceedings. In this regard, courts need to implement this principle more broadly, ensuring the possibility of free access to courtrooms for all interested parties, including representatives of the media.
In this situation, if there were free seats, the journalists were removed from the courtroom illegally.The judge has the right to prohibit photography and video filming, but the judge had no right to remove journalists, prohibiting them from seeing and hearing what was happening in open court proceedings. The principle of publicity was violated.

According to paragraph 2 of the Normative Resolution of the Supreme Court dated December 6, 2002, No.25 «About respect for the principle of publicity of criminal law of procedure», depending on the nature and significance of the violations of the principle of publicity, the proceedings conducted in the case may be declared invalid with the annulment of the rendering decision.

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