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Amnesties have to stop in Kazakhstan: Justice Minister

16 february 2012, 18:37
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Minister of Justice Berik Imashev. Photo courtesy of inesnet.kz
Minister of Justice Berik Imashev. Photo courtesy of inesnet.kz
New Minister of Justice Berik Imashev believes that Kazakhstan needs to stop its amnesty practices, he told Tengrinews.kz.

“We have to stop practicing the amnesties. We have already had 7 or 8 amnesties during the whole period (during 20 years). From law theory perspective amnesty is wrong, in fact it is an exceptional measure. We then need to review the Criminal Code in this part. Most important is that each case in the Criminal Code is reviewed individually and the imprisonment term is appointed individually. That man who killed a girl (Shymkent police officer Askar Kulbayev who run a girl over with his car while driving drunk) would not have been amnestied (before even being delivered to jail), should his case be reviewed individually,” Imashev says.

He notes that while being a senator he made objection to the amnesties. According to him, the debates on this subject lasted for almost a year in Parliament. Senator Gani Kassymov was the biggest supporter of the amnesties; he sent the request to the government several times calling for the amnesties. In particular, he once said that the state was spending too much money on convicts.

In the end it was decided to declare the amnesty. However, after adoption of the law and several high-profile cases people started criticizing it a lot. Such cases include the case of Shymkent policeman Askar Kulbayev, who drove drunk, knocked down and killed a girl and tried to escape from the site of the accident. The court released Kulbayev under the amnesty.

The judicial board of the Supreme Court did not see violation of any laws in Kulbayev’s release.

Around 600 people were amnestied in Kazakhstan already, including Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director of Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law who was convicted in September 2009 and sentenced to 4 years in jail for hitting and killing a pedestrian with this car.

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