What does an ordinary person need to know if the police hand them a notice or a summons? What actions should a defense lawyer take if his client is detained? In what cases can detention be considered illegal? These and other questions were answered by participants of the second online training for defense lawyers and legal professionals within the project on protection of the rights of Kazakhstani citizens during peaceful assemblies.

This project is implemented by the Legal Policy Research Center (Almaty) with the financial support of the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation.

On October 29, 2020, the second online training for the legal community and lawyers of the non-profit sector was held on the topic “Features of detention of participants in peaceful assemblies. Tactical actions of the defender”. The training was conducted by Elvira Bokhanova, a defense lawyer of the Almaty city bar Association, and Tatiana Chernobil, a consultant on international human rights law.

According to Tatyana Chernobil, the project is of high importance both for the general public and for the legal community of Kazakhstan.

“Why is this important? Today, the number of lawyers who work on cases of peaceful assemblies is catastrophically small, given the size of our country and the number of people being detained. Among the participants in our trainings, only a few had experience representing the interests of citizens in the context of peaceful assemblies. Therefore, at the end of this project, I hope that the public will receive an additional resource in the person of trained lawyers who will be able to professionally and confidently represent the interests of people who have been detained or subjected to administrative penalties in the context of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” the expert notes.

During the second online training, participants reviewed detailed cases and developed tactics for the defense and potential clients in the event of receiving a notification from the police or being detained by the police.

Special attention was paid to the practice of preventive detentions — detentions of a person (activist) previously known to the authorities as associated with a certain activity (social, civil and other “active” efforts) in order to prevent them from committing their intended further actions.

There are cases when preventive detentions were used to prevent activists from participating in peaceful assemblies. Together with experts, participants developed tactics to protect activists in such cases.

Another important issue discussed during the training is the violation of the rights and guarantees of advocacy.

Experts reminded the participants that under the article 752 of the Administrative Code, the defender has the right: to get acquainted with all materials of the case; to participate in the trial; to present evidence; to submit petitions and challenges; with the permission of the judge, body (official) authorized to consider the matter, ask questions of the interviewee in the course of the proceedings to persons; to appeal against application of measures of maintenance of manufacture on the case and the decision of the case; to enjoy other rights granted by law.

International organizations have repeatedly reported violations of the right to peaceful assembly in Kazakhstan and called on Nur-Sultan to comply with its human rights obligations. Human rights defenders have recorded numerous expedited trials held in police stations, at night, and in many cases without the presence of lawyers or in conditions where lawyers could not effectively and efficiently protect their clients.

“My task during this training is to share my knowledge and experience as a lawyer in international law. To rise above the national legislation, within which lawyers operate, and to show the possibilities of international mechanisms for the protection of human rights for Kazakhstani citizens,” says Tatyana Chernobil.

Online trainings within the project are devoted to such topics as the organization and conduct of peaceful assemblies, features of detention of participants of peaceful assemblies and tactics of protection, features of administrative proceedings in cases related to peaceful assemblies, appeal of court decisions, features of protection of media representatives and their rights in covering peaceful assemblies.

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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