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

OPEN APPEAL from the International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech "Adil Soz" to the Prosecutor General B. N. Asylov

8 september 2023

Dear Berik Nogayuly,

On August 18, Diana Saparkyzy, a journalist from the Karaganda region, was attacked by ArcelorMittal Temirtau security guards in an attempt to interfere with her professional activities while covering the aftermath of the fire at the Kazakhstanskaya mine.

On August 19, the journalist underwent a forensic examination and filed a report with the Police Department of the Karaganda Region to initiate a criminal case under Part 2 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code (Interfering with the legitimate professional activity of a journalist through the use of violence).

According to Article 180 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, there are sufficient grounds to commence a pre-trial investigation when there is substantial evidence suggesting the commission of a criminal offense, with no circumstances precluding further proceedings.

In this case, there is ample evidence pointing to a violation of Part 2 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code. Notably, the journalist possesses video recordings confirming the use of violence against her after she warned the attackers not to interfere with her legitimate professional activities. The expert's conclusion confirms minor injuries sustained by the journalist, as evidenced by the bruise on her left shoulder.

The security officer Tirkin B.A. stated that he took action against the journalist after receiving a phone call informing him that the journalist is taking a video. Besides he said "WE then escorted her out of the protected facility."

The police of Shakhtinsk, where the journalist's report was filed with the police, have only documented an administrative offense report against one security officer, B.A. Tirkin, under Part 1 of Article 73-1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Intentional infliction of minor harm to health).

However, the police have neither established who called B.A. Tirkin demanding action against the journalist, nor identified others involved in "escorting" the journalist from the premises, and not determined the coercive measures employed.

Part 2 of Article 25 of the Administrative Code says that administrative liability is imposed for offenses that do not warrant criminal liability under the law.

In accordance with Article 742 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, proceedings in an administrative offense case may be terminated if there are signs of a criminal offense under criminal law, if the case is transferred to the prosecutor or criminal pre-trial investigator.
Despite the circumstances outlined above and in compliance with legal requirements, the Shakhtinsk police have not terminated the administrative proceedings and have only sought to hold one security guard administratively accountable, seemingly for public display.

A thorough pre-trial investigation is essential to establish all the incident's details comprehensively by conducting necessary investigative actions in line with the norms of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Pursuant to Article 10 of the Law "On the Prosecutor's Office," the prosecutor has the authority to terminate administrative offense proceedings and demand compliance with the law from the criminal prosecution body when there are signs of a criminal offense.

Given the above, we respectfully request you to take appropriate prosecutorial measures to uphold the rule of law and initiate a pre-trial investigation based on the criminal offense outlined in Part 2 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code (Interfering with the legitimate professional activity of a journalist through the use of violence).

The international human rights organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also previously demanded a thorough investigation into the attack on journalist Diana Saparkyzy.

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