The Zhanaozen process is open

Mar 28. Kazpravda. Aktau

By Natalia Butyrina

The Zhanaozen process is openRelatives and friends of the accused in the riots in Zhanaozen on 16-17 December last year and those whose property was damaged in looting and arson came to the youth center “Arman” by 8 a.m. yesterday, where the trial was going on.

The process is open. This is evident by the number of journalists of local, national and international media and international observers, for example, an independent non-governmental organization “International Platform of Civil Solidarity”, which unites 37 organizations belonging to the OSCE, representatives of Norway, Poland and Ukraine.

Unfortunately, the morning session was postponed to 3p.m. as one of the defendants – a minor N. Mukashev had not arrived by the beginning of the process.

At 3p.m. was the first hearing. Of the 37 defendants, two are minors. 30 of them were arrested, seven were under house arrest.

Of the six public prosecutors at the trial, the chief state prosecutor is Syrum Akbayev. The process involves 12 lawyers.

The hearing was opened by Criminal Court Judge of Aktau, Aralbay Nagashibaev. He explained the order of proceedings and read out the list of all the defendants present and charges against them. – The defendants are charged with organizing mass riots, accompanied by violence, arson, destruction, damage of property (Article 241 of the Criminal Code), the use of violence against a government representative (Article 321 of the Criminal Code), robbery (Article 178 of the Criminal Code) and theft (Article 175 of the Criminal Code). Criminal cases make 90 volumes, – said Aralbay Nagashibaev.

The Chief Prosecutor noted that 36 of the registered 188 victims, i.e. owners of the burnt vehicles and tents, restaurants, shops, offices were present at the trial. These cases involve 45 witnesses.

The judge named each of the defendants, who then responded to questions of the judge and prosecutor. Most of the defendants used to work for the production branch “Ozenmunaygaz” and service contractors.

At a briefing subsequent to the first day of the hearing, it was reported that the trial would continue on 28 March at 10am the Aktau time and defendants would be present in groups not all the 37 of then at once. Given the number of defendants and victims, the trial will last for one month at least.