Support Botagoz Jardemalie
The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (Hereinafter IOL) expresses its deep concern regarding the situation of the Kazakhstani political refugee and lawyer of the New York Bar, Botagoz Jardemalie, who has advised numerous Kazakhstani regime opponents.
Jardemalie has advised Mukhtar Ablyazov, a main opposition figure in Kazakhstan now living in exile in France. As a consequence of her work, she has become a target of the Kazakhstani regime, which insistently represses any form of opposition linked to the political movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan and persecutes those who are involved or affiliated with it. She was granted political asylum in 2013 in Belgium due to extraordinary risks she faced in the form of reprisals by Kazakhstan. [...]
The brother of Jardemalie, Iskander Yerimbetov, has been held in pre-trial detention since November 13, 2017. As reported by his counsel and several human rights organisations, Yerimbetov has suffered serious mistreatment and was subjected to torture (see Human Rights Watch and Norwegian Helsinki Committee; Freedom House; and Kazakhstan Coalition of NGOs Against Torture). An independent examination of Yerimbetov, carried out by Svetlana Chernikova, and the visit of human rights defenders Zhemis Turgmagambetova, Executive Director of the Public Foundation “Charter for Human Rights”, and Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, have confirmed the episodes of torture. It is fair to believe that her brother was arrested in order to pressure Jardemalie to cease her work and force her to return to the country to provide false testimony against Mukhtar Ablyazov.
As provided for by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, binding upon the Republic of Kazakhstan, lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions (Principle 18).
Moreover, Kazakhstan authorities have an obligation to ensure that lawyers can perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference and that they do not suffer, and are not threatened with, prosecution for any action taken while carrying out their duties (Principle 16).
The IOL therefore urges the Kazakhstani authorities to comply with the standards set forth by the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, to abide by its international human rights obligations and to:
- Guarantee that Botagoz Jardemalie is able to perform her professional duties freely and independently, ending any form of intimidation or harassment against her or her family;
- End any form of ill-treatment of Jardemalie’s brother, Iskander Yerimbetov, and immediately release him from detention and ensure that he has a fair trial.