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March 11, 2021

ABA Center for Human Rights TrialWatch Fairness Report gives “D” grade to Kazakhstan proceedings

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2021 – The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, in conjunction with the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative, issued a TrialWatch Fairness Report with a grade of “D” after monitoring the criminal proceedings against human rights activist and blogger Alnur Ilyashev in Kazakhstan.

Ilyashev was prosecuted for “disseminating knowingly false information” in a state of emergency on the basis of three Facebook posts that criticized the ruling Nur Otan party for corruption and incompetence, including in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proceedings — held over videoconference because of COVID-19 — were marred by grave violations of Ilyashev’s right to a fair trial. The report found that Ilyashev’s nonviolent speech on political matters was protected and that his criminal prosecution was neither necessary nor proportional. The quality of the video link at trial fell short of international standards causing him to be denied his right to effective participation in the proceedings, according to the report. He was also prevented from fully cross-examining the prosecution’s primary expert and from calling witnesses and experts key to his defense.

A copy of the ABA’s Center for Human Rights TrialWatch Fairness Report can be read here.

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The Clooney Foundation for Justice's TrialWatch initiative monitors criminal prosecutions of vulnerable persons around the world. For more information, go to