Tokayev signs law expanding rights of convicts

The law prohibits cruel and humiliating behavior toward inmates and strengthens criminal punishment for torture / Photo:

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed a law aimed at preventing torture and expanding the rights of convicts in Kazakhstan, according to the press service of Akorda.

«This law is a continuation of consistent efforts of Kazakhstan aimed at rooting out torture and other forms of cruel treatment of convicts, expanding their rights and preventing negative prison subculture from forming,» the press service said in a statement.

The new legislation introduces criminal liability for cruel behavior toward inmates or humiliation of their human dignity. The law also requires law enforcement officials to use record investigative actions on the video to protect citizens from police misconduct.

Convicts who have serious diseases can apply for respite. They can even be immediately released if the court decides so. Most importantly, those who have been convicted for the first time will now be kept separate from recidivists.

In January 2023, more than 50 residents of the town of Semey held a meeting in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office. The protesters talked about torture in prisons and blamed the National Security Committee’s officials.

At the same time, while commenting on the events of January 2022 in the Mazhilis Prosecutor General Berik Asylov said that the agency opened 329 criminal cases against police officers accused of torture.

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