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

The police chief in Shymkent is suing a journalist

7 november 2023

The First Deputy Head of the Shymkent Police Department, Yermakhan Abdramanov, accuses journalist Marina Nizovkina of slander. The reason was two publications on the social network Instagram, posted on the journalist's personal page.

The policeman was outraged that the material for 13.07.2023 indicated that his official car was stopped on suspicion of using fake state license plates. And on 11.09.2023, he saw a «false publication» with his photos.  The applicant believes that the information discredits his honor and dignity.

He even provided the investigation with the conclusion of the psychological and philological examination of the text, made by specialists of the RUKP «Center for Forensic Examinations of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan»  Institute of Forensic Examinations in the city of Astana», which states that the posts contain «negative information in the affirmative form, which are subject to verification because in case of inconsistency with reality, they can discredit honor, dignity and business reputation the First Deputy Head of the Shymkent Police Departament, Abdramanov Yermakhan Adilkhanovich».   

On October 30, Deputy Head of the City Police Department appealed to the subordinate police department of the Al-Farabi district with a statement on bringing Marina Nizovkina to administrative responsibility. On November 1, the journalist was acquainted with the protocol on administrative violation and the next day the case materials were sent to the court, although Marina provided the police with documentary evidence of her words.

«On November 3, at 12.30, a record of the trial appeared in the court office, and at 13.30, even later, a message came that the trial was scheduled for 16 o'clock. The district inspector called and invited me to the administrative court before the invitation from the court was received», says Marina.  

At the court hearing, both sides filed petitions. The representative of the applicant – about the appointment of a closed court session due to the fact that during the hearings the personal data of Abdramanov will be considered. The judge left this petition open.  
Marina Nizovkina filed a motion to postpone the hearing in the case, as she needs time to find a lawyer, and then the lawyer needs time to review the case materials.

The court session is scheduled for November 9, 16.00.

Comment of the Adil Soz Foundation

The phrase in the publication dated 13.07.2023, in which the injured person is mentioned, reads as follows: «They say that the official car of the first deputy head of the Shymkent DP, Yermakhan Abdramanov, is loaded onto the tow truck». The key here is the word «THEY SAY». In the publication dated 11.09.2023, such a phrase is: «Remember, his car was stopped by inspectors, because they suspected that the police chief drives fake license plates, and they are not allowed to him, he is not in charge of operational work». The key word here is «SUSPECTED». 

Both of the above keywords emphasize the PRESUMED nature of attributing the described car to Mr. Abdramanov, as well as to his driving on fake license plates. But for some reason, these words are not analyzed at all in the conclusion of linguists, which was presented by the victim.

It seems that the specialists were given a specific task with a accusatory bias, which led them to overlook even the key words in the publications. This is because false information could be recognized exclusively as information spread in an affirmative form, not in the form of assumptions.

Furthermore, in this case of administrative offense, there is a complete absence of evidence of «MALICE» meaning the journalist's intent to spread false information when the journalist knowingly knows that the information is false but deliberately publishes it for some unlawful purpose. 

On the contrary, the journalist presents evidence (sources of information used for publication) that confirm her good faith. Under such circumstances, the composition of «SLANDER», that is, the dissemination of DELIBERATELY false information, is absent.

Over the past few months, similar cases have repeatedly occurred in the neighboring Turkestan region. The editor chief of Saryagash-inform, Amankeldy Batyrbekov, was twice brought in for libel, and with a maximum penalty of 20 days of arrest. The reason was the publication also completely without signs of «MALICE», that is, without any evidence of malicious intent. In both cases, Batyrbekov was absolutely convinced that he was publishing the truth, which means that there was no slander in his actions.

Adil soz strongly recommends the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan to clarify with judges and local law enforcement officers on the legal theory and practice under the article «Slander» in order to preserve the uniformity of the application of laws throughout the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan and compliance with the rule of law. If necessary, the Adil Soz Foundation is ready to hold a corresponding seminar free of charge.

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