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An independent project to train defense lawyers launched in Kazakhstan

Within two months, experts will train defense lawyers on how to protect the rights of Kazakhstani citizens detained during peaceful assemblies.

The project is implemented by the Legal Policy Research Center (Almaty) with financial support from the Soros Kazakhstan Foundation.

According to the center’s experts, over the past five years, more than 750 actions were held in the country, in which more than 25 thousand people took part. In June 2019 alone, 550 people were charged and brought to administrative or criminal responsibility for “participating in an unauthorized rally”.

The aim of the project is to improve the skills of defense lawyers and representatives of the non-governmental sector for the protection of persons detained during peaceful assemblies.

An important part of the project will be a series of online training sessions for lawyers and legal professionals on developing effective skills. The trainers are leading Kazakhstani lawyers and human rights defenders: Zhan Kunserkin, Elvira Bokhanova, Zhanara Balgabayeva, Amanzhol Mukhamedyarov, Inara Masanova and Tatiana Chernobil.

The trainings will focus on such topics as organizing and holding peaceful assemblies, features of detaining participants of peaceful assemblies and defense tactics, features of administrative proceedings in cases related to peaceful assemblies, appeal of court decisions, features of protecting media representatives and their rights in covering peaceful assemblies.

On October 24, 2020, the project already held its first online training, during which participants received information on the following issues:

– discrepancy in Kazakhstan’s legislation on peaceful assemblies with international standards (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights);

– features and pitfalls of the new law “On the procedure for organizing and holding peaceful assemblies ” of May 25, 2020;

– questions of interaction with local executive bodies in the organization of peaceful assembly.

The project will result in the creation of a pool of legal professionals and defense lawyers who can effectively protect the rights of detainees and participants of peaceful assemblies.

In addition, according to the organizers, this project will make it easier for lawyers and journalists to work with a trained audience: citizens will know their rights and contribute to the implementation of not only the protection of the right to peaceful assembly, but also to a fair trial, freedom of expression and the right to information. Online trainings are held within the framework of the project “Building capacity of the legal community to provide legal assistance and protect the right to peaceful assembly”

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