Kazakhstan: Theatre director released after three weeks in prison

11 July 2012

Theatre director and activist Bolat Atabayev was released from detention on 3 July 2012 in Almaty, and charges against him were dropped.

Bolat Atabayev had been detained on 15 June 2012 and charged with “inciting social hatred” in connection with protests by striking oil workers in the western city of Zhanaozen, where at least 16 people were shot dead during clashes with police in mid-December 2011.

In March 2012, Bolat Atabayev premiered a play that indirectly addressed the Zhanaozen events, and in June 2012, Amnesty International declared Atabayev a “prisoner of conscience”.

At a press conference on 3 July, Bolat Atabayev told that his status has been changed from “accused” to “witness” as the legal fallout continued.


Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty – 4 July 2012:
Kazakh Authorities Free Director Held Over Labor Deaths
Pro-reform Kazakh theater director Bolat Atabaev has been released from Aktau prison where he was being held over charges in connection with unrest last year over a stubborn labor dispute. By RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service.

Article 19 – 5 July 2012:
“I wanted them to judge me after my death” says released theatre director Bolat Atabayev
ARTICLE 19 welcomes the release of theatre director, Bolat Atabayev, on 3 July, after the charges of inciting social hatred originally brought against him in connection with the Zhanaozen riots in December 2011, were dropped. ARTICLE 19 considers these charges politically motivated.

Related articles:

Amnesty Declares Dissident Kazakh Theater Director ‘Prisoner Of Conscience’
Kazakh Theater Director Arrested
Kazakh Play Indirectly References Zhanaozen Violence
Kazakh Investigator Faces Hatred Charges

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