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CWI - CIS Section
125167 Moscow a/ya 37
The Appeal hearing against the three years sentences on trumped up charges handed out to leaders of the Karaganda Free Trade Union Movement Saken and Rustem Zhanusev has been scheduled for 15th April.
After the collapse of the USSR the Kazakstan government has forced through a programme of neo-liberal reforms, in particular privatization. This has left hundreds of thousands of workers without jobs, or if they are working with huge wage arrears. In Karaganda these two trade union leaders have been at the forefront of the fight to defend the rights of these workers.
As a result of their activities, since 1999 the workers at 5 factories in the city have managed to get over 750,000 US dollars worth of wages returned. Understandably the cityıs corrupt bosses are not happy and they have launched a viscous witch hunt against these workersı leaders. Saken, for example has been taken to court over 20 times for various civil offences. In addition they have been subject to many physical threats, including death threats.
These sentences are clearly of a political character, intended to take these three workersı leaders out of action and to show that the regime is in full control. They are intended to restrict the struggle of those who are struggling for a democratic and just Kazakhstan, where workers get paid for the work they do and not treated like slaves.
The Association of Free Trade Unions of Karaganda, the Executive Committee of the Workers Movement (Solidarnost) of Kazakhstan and the Committee for a Workersı International (Kazakhstan) are launching an urgent appeal to assist these Prisoners of Conscience.
We are asking for letters and faxes of protest demanding that Saken and Rustem Zhanusev are freed and that the real criminals, those who do not pay the wages they owe are put on trial.
Please send protests to:
Court President A Kacimov,
Oblastnoi Sud, ul. Bukhar Zhirau dom 337,
Republic of Kazakhstan
Faxes should be sent in working time, Karaganda in 5 hours ahead of London time.
Copies should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition the appeal is going to cost in the region of 2500 euros in a city where average monthly wages are less than 100 euros. For security reasons we are asking any trade union or left organizations that are able to contribute to please do so by contacting the Kazakhstan Solidarity Committee by email on email@example.com. Details of the bank account for transfer will then be given. Full receipts will be provided for any transfer.
President Workers' Movement of Kazakhstan.
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