A unique person. That is how people describe him. Somebody who is curious and eager to learn. Somebody who does not complain, even if he has every reason to do so.

 

He loves and takes care of his elderly mother and his sisters. He built a coffin for his deceased father with his bare hands. His relative says: "Even when I buy him a warm sweater as a birthday present, I never see him wearing it. He gives it to someone who needs it more".

 

He is the kind of person who lives for others. Modest. Serious. Courageous when it comes to defending rights of the humankind.

 

In April 2016, this human rights defender mobilized his community to assemble peacefully and protest the proposed changes to the Land Code of Kazakhstan. He encouraged individual landowners not to sell their land and asked for revision of the proposed reform. He wrote about it on Facebook.

 

During the peaceful demonstrations, he expressed his views on the reforms and received the support of many.

 

Alarmed by the rising public concern, the government suspended several of the proposed provisions. Nevertheless, officials promised to punish the “provocateurs” of the demonstration.

 

A Land Law Reform Commission was established and he was invited to join it. However, he declined. Instead, he expressed his wish for an end to the persecution of those who participated in the peaceful land rally across the country. He wrote about it on Facebook.

 

The government was not amused, especially since he has many friends at home and abroad. The house of his mother was raided and she was injured and hospitalized. Criminal charges were brought against him.

 

He waited for the trial for many months, in detention. Suffering from Hepatitis C, he had no access to proper nutrition or medication. He did not receive medical treatment.

 

During the hearings, the prosecutors obstructed the defense and intimidated witnesses. The judge declared the process political. Proceedings were flawed, his right to a fair trial violated.

 

He was kept in a glass cage. He smiled.

 

His health deteriorated and he could not participate in the court hearings. His friend in detention, held under the same charges, tried to commit suicide. But the trial continued without the accused.

 

He was sentenced to five years in prison and moved to an institution many hundreds of kilometers away from his family.

 

His future remains uncertain, and so does the future of justice in Kazakhstan.

A Unique Person