ADDRESSING THE SITUATION IN KAZAKHSTAN CONCERNING BERGEI RYSKALIYEV; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 57
(Extensions of Remarks - April 02, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E386]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]





  ADDRESSING THE SITUATION IN KAZAKHSTAN CONCERNING BERGEI RYSKALIYEV

                                 ______
                                 

                           HON. DUNCAN HUNTER

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, April 2, 2019

  Mr. HUNTER. Madam Speaker, I rise today to express my concern with 
what appears to be a politically motivated prosecution of the former 
governor of Kazakhstan's western Atyrau region, Bergei Ryskaliyev, as 
well as 22 other people, including Ryskaliyev's family members and 
colleagues from the western oil-producing region of the country. This 
sham trial appears to be the next step in the Kazakh regime's efforts 
to silence legitimate calls of local citizens demanding oil revenue 
transparency, safe working conditions, and fair pay. Just not long ago, 
in the country's western oil-producing city of Zhanaozen, a peaceful 
demonstration was crushed by Kazakh police, who opened fire on the 
protestors, resulting in at least 16 people killed.
  The fact that Kazakhstan has a long history of discrediting and even 
criminally prosecuting members of the ruling elite when they are 
perceived to be gaining too much power and prominence, which was the 
case with Mr. Ryskaliyev during his time in office, points to the 
possibility of political motivation behind the prosecution. 
Additionally, independent NGOs and western legal experts who observed 
the trial point out that there has not been sufficient evidence to 
justify the prejudicial findings regarding Mr. Ryskaliyev, essentially 
denying him a fundamental human right to a fair trial. The U.S. State 
Department Human Rights Reports for 2018 corroborates that there is no 
such thing as judicial independence in Kazakhstan and corruption is 
evident at every stage of the judicial process.
  As Kazakhstan is aspiring to be a strategic partner of the United 
States, I call on my colleagues to join me in urging the State 
Department to review the case of Mr. Ryskaliyev and assure that it will 
be included in our Government's discussions on promoting democracy in 
this important part of the world.
  In light of the resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the 
issue of peaceful transition of power with participation of opposition 
politicians and people previously convicted on politically motivated 
charges is extremely important.

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