One day after the press conference announcing the launch of a non-governmental Commission of Inquiry, created to investigate the treatment and detention of Zhanbolat Mamay, Kazakh authorities have released him under house arrest.
Mr Mamay is a popular politician, journalist, and leader of the ‘unregistered’ opposition Democratic Party in Kazakhstan. He has been detained since February 2022, after being accused by Kazakh authorities of having involvement in orchestrating the January 2022 liquified gas protests. It was reported that the government response to the protests led to the death of over 227 people in a lethal crackdown that has become known as ‘Bloody January’.
Supporters of Mr Mamay claim his arrest, detention and prosecution were an attempt by the Kazakh government to suppress opposition voices in Kazakhstan. International human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called for Mr Mamay’s immediate release, and for charges against him to be dropped.
Mr Mamay will still be put on trial on 7 November 2022, but his release under house arrest is a significant step forwards in his case, and in the wider context of challenging the treatment and detention of other political prisoners in Kazakhstan.
Upon his release, Mr Mamay gave a speech, in which he thanked Lord Macdonald Kt KC (Chair of the Commission), and Tayab Ali, partner at Bindmans LLP who is acting as Secretariat in this matter.
For further information on Mr Mamay’s case, the Commission and its aims, read the full press release here.
Rewatch yesterday’s press conference below: