Abzhan, Makhambet

Gender: .
State of concern: .

Who, Why and How exiled:

Young political activist, he was the leader of the Union of Patriotic Youth of Kazakhstan, he was 20 at the time of the events of 2005 (Ferghana News, December 26, 2005). He moved to the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, in September 2005, fearing persecution for his political activity in the run-up to the Kazakh presidential election (The Moscow Times, 2005).



Category of exile: . (Definitions here.)

Which stages experienced: Stage 1   Stage 2   not Stage 3. (Definitions here.)
Date of most serious incident: 2005.
Violence experienced: .

Stage 1 details (accusations/ charges/ Interpol notice/ extradition requests):

Charged with embezzlement, which his supporters claimed were politically motivated (The Moscow Times, 2005) He was likely wanted due to his vocal criticism of the Kazakh leadership.

Stage 2 details (arrest/ detention/ extradition):

Arrested in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in December 2005, Abzhan found himself in Detention Cell 21 of Bishkek  on a request from Kazakh authorities. He was extradited shortly after. (Validov, 2005)

He received a prison sentence in a correctional facility for three years and has been charged with money embezzlement (ШАЯХМЕТ, 2007)

In November 2017 Abzhan has been found guilty of fraud and therefore been sentenced to 3½ years imprisonment by a court in Astana. Additionally the confiscation of his property has been ordered. Friends and supporters insist that this has been a politically motivated case as he was protesting for for the rights of would-be homeowners in Astana. (RFE/RL, 2019)



International arrest warrant: .

Countries of transit, asylum and/or residence: .

Current status:

Still engaged in activism. Arrested and sentenced to seven days in jail in 2014 for taking part in a pro-Ukrainian protest against the entry of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 2014).

Between 17 and 19 May, 2016  least 24 people have been arrested in different parts of Kazakhstan among them Abzhan Makhambet. This happened after they stated their intention to participate in planned, peaceful demonstrations on 21 May ( Amnesty International, 2016). In Astana, a court then detained  Makhambet Abzhan for 10 days each, Abzhan's wife told Reuters by telephone, adding that her husband had been charged with hooliganism (Reuters, 2016).

Since 2017 Abzhan is serving a 3½years sentence in prison. The NGO KAZAKHSTAN INTERNATIONAL BUREAU FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND RULE OF LAW has listed him as a political prisoner. (KIBHR, 2019)

Press sources:

Yerzhan Dosmukhamedov, Kazakhstan's Assassinated Democracy [e-book], eBookit.com, 2011.[Accessed:23 June, 2017]

The Moscow Times, "Kyrgyzstan seeks extradition of Akayev's son from Russia," December 28, 2005[Online].Available at:  http://www.themoscowtimes.com/sitemap/free/2005/12/article/kyrgyzstan-seeks-extradition-of-akayevs-son-from-russia/207682.html [Accessed:23 June, 2017]

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, "Kazakh activist jailed for pro-Ukraine protest," March 11, 2014.[Online]. Available at: http://www.rferl.org/content/kazakhstan-ukraine-crimea-protest-jail/25293160.html [Accessed:23 June, 2017]

Khalid Validov, "Oppositionist Makhambet Abzhan extradited from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan," Ferghana News, December 26, 2005. [Online].Available at:  http://enews.fergananews.com/article.php?id=1222.[Accessed:23 June, 2017]

Reuters (2016). "Kazakhstan arrests activists ahead of land protests".May 18, 2016.[Online]. Available at: http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN0Y90PS [Accessed:23 June, 2017]

Бауыржан ШАЯХМЕТ, 2007. Приговор молодому оппозиционеру Махамбету Абжану остался без изменений. 10 0.2.2007. [Online]. Available at: Радио Азаттык. https://rus.azattyq.org/a/1180775.html[Accessed:23 June, 2017]

Amnesty International, 2016. URGENT ACTION DETAINED FOR STATING INTENTION TO ATTEND A RALLY. 20 May, 2016.[Online]. Available at:  https://www.amnesty.org.uk/resources/urgent-action-detained-stating-intention-attend-rally-kazakhstan [Accessed:23 June, 2017]

RFE/RL (2019) Prominent Kazakh Rights Activist Jailed On Fraud Charges. [online] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Available at: https://www.rferl.org/a/kazakhstan-abzhan-rights-activist-jailed-fraud/28880377.html[Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
KIBHR (2019) New list of political prisoners of Kazakhstan. [online] Available at: https://bureau.kz/en/news/own_information/new_list_of_political_prisoners_of_kazakhstan/[Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].