The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym Tokayev issued a decree on the evening of August 9th pardoning trade union leader Erlan Baltabay, leader of the Fuel and Energy Workers' Union and vice-president of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (KNPRK), from custody. Baltabay was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on July 17, 2019, on embezzlement charges that the international labor movement condemned as being politically motivated. His sentence also included a prohibition on trade union activities for an additional seven years after his jail term
The ITUC has harshly condemned the sentencing of Kazakhstan trade union leader Erlan Baltabay. Efforts to improve freedom of association for working people are once again jeopardised; but the country’s new leadership could still intervene.
As pressure built against Kazakhstan at the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) conference in Geneva this month to address the country’s poor record on trade union rights, authorities back home are seeking to jail an independent trade union leader.
As the International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates its Centenary this week, one of its key committees decided today to examine once again the grim situation for labor rights in Kazakhstan.
The move is not a surprise. In the two years since the ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards, which examines how states comply with ILO treaties, last reviewed Kazakhstan, its government has dragged its feet on much-needed legal reforms and continued to try to silence critical voices in the workplace.
A lawyer in Kazakhstan known for taking on politically sensitive cases is fighting off a judicial complaint that could lead to her disbarment.
Gulnara Zhuaspayeva told a press conference in Almaty on April 1 that she believes this is an attempt to intimidate her into desisting from her work.