|JANUARY 28, 2003 |
Updated: February 9, 2004
Sergei Duvanov, Prava Cheloveka v Kazakhstane i Mire
Duvanov, a prominent 49-year-old journalist known for his criticism of Kazakh authorities, was arrested on October 27, 2002, on suspicion of raping a minor. The journalist was officially charged on November 6. Duvanov denied the rape accusation, saying it was a government effort to discredit him. The charges came just as Duvanov was preparing to leave for the United States, where he was scheduled to give a series of talks at Washington, D.C.- and New York-based think tanks about political conditions in Kazakhstan.
Shortly after his arrest, Duvanov went on a hunger strike to protest his detention. He ended the strike after 13 days, when prison authorities began to force-feed him. His trial, which began on December 24, ended on January 28, 2003. Duvanov was found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
The journalistís daughter Dinisa was granted political asylum in the U.S. in March due to fears for her security.
Duvanovís defense team appealed the conviction, which was rejected by the Almaty regional court in March and the Supreme Court in November.
Duvanov, who writes for opposition-financed Web sites and is the editor-in-chief of a bulletin published by the Almaty-based Kazakhstan Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, is known for his biting criticism of Kazakhstanís political system and high-level officials, including Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Authorities have frequently harassed him in reprisal for his work. Two months prior to his arrest, on the evening of August 28, 2002, three unknown assailants beat and stabbed Duvanov in the stairwell of his apartment building, saying of his work, "If you carry on, youíll be made a total cripple." On July 9, 2002, the General Prosecutorí Office had charged him with "infringing the honor and dignity of the president"-a criminal offense punishable by a fine or a maximum three-year prison sentence-after he accused President Nazarbayev of corruption in an article. Authorities later dropped that criminal case against him without any explanation.
After 14 months in prison, the Kapchagay district court ruled on December 29, 2003, that he could serve the rest of his term in a low security labor camp. Duvanov was transferred to a labor camp that same day, the independent Almaty newspaper Assandi Times reported.
On January 15, 2004, Duvanov was released from the labor camp on probation for good behavior, according to local press reports. He was allowed to return to his home in Almaty and his job as an editor at the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law.
The conditions of Duvanovís parole require him to report to Kazakh authorities weekly and forbid him from leaving Almaty or making public appearancessuch as attending a meeting or going to a restaurant. He must also hand over a portion of his salary to the state, according to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting.