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From theory to practice: defense lawyers and defenders have completed their training

A set of online trainings for the legal community of the Republic of Kazakhstan on legal protection of participants in peaceful assemblies has ended. During the training, the participants passed five online trainings, and at the end analyzed real cases from the practice of Kazakhstani human rights defenders and active defense lawyers.

Online trainings are held for defense lawyers and defenders of the non-governmental sector of the Republic of Kazakhstan as part of the project to protect the rights of Kazakhstani citizens during peaceful assemblies. The project is implemented by the Legal Policy Research Center (Almaty) with the financial support of the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation.

The online training session ended with a large-scale Case Forum, where experts shared their practical experience, tactics and strategies for protecting people detained during peaceful assemblies. Following human rights defenders and defense lawyers were invited as speakers to the Case Forum: Tatiana Chernobil, Elmira Bokhanova, Zhan Kunserkin, Yerlan Yerbolatuly and Inara Masanova.

In particular, Inara Masanova reviewed cases of detention of participants of land rallies in 2016 and stressed that defense lawyers need to be trained on how to protect themselves on detentions during peaceful assemblies. One of the main tips was to defense lawyers was visit police department buildings in advance on the days of peaceful assemblies, so that they could be ready to provide timely assistance to the detainees.

Defense lawyer Yerlan Yerbolatuly, in turn, shared his own life hack and told how once in the police department building he copied all the personal data of eleven detainees who were in the department. He managed to do this despite the obstacles of the police. On the same day, the lawyer published this information on his Facebook page. Thanks to this, one reader finally managed to find out in which of the departments her husband was detained.

The experts also stressed that it is necessary to monitor the rights of detainees.

“Make sure that the detained women are escorted by female officer, not men. Make sure that the detainees are released to the toilet. The ban on serving the natural needs of a person can be attributed to the elements of torture,” Yerlan Yerbolatuly said.

Experts agreed that it is also necessary to train police officers, who often do not know what powers human rights defenders and defense lawyers have, and therefore may hinder their work.

Human rights activist and international law expert Tatyana Chernobil reminded the audience of the importance of observing the Bangalore principles of judicial conduct, which form the basis of the Code of Ethics for Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Bangalore principles are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Both documents have been ratified in Kazakhstan and establish the right of citizens to peaceful assembly.

All participants of online trainings will be awarded certificates. Also, upon completion of the project, Legal Policy Research Center plans to publish an online methodological publication for defense lawyers and defenders of the non-profit sector. The publication will contain a legal framework and practical advice on how to protect participants of peaceful assemblies in Kazakhstan. The online edition will be distributed free of charge.

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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