HCLC’s award-winning solicitor, Paul Heron, has added his backing to an international campaign demanding better rights for lawyers from the Republic of Kazakhstan. The case of lawyer Vadim Kuramshin, a human rights lawyer from Kazakhstan in Central Asia (pictured right), has led to international uproar.
Vadim Kuramshin was arrested on 23 January 2012. He was charged with ‘extorting money’ from the public prosecutor whom Mr Kuramshin himself had wanted to take legal action against. Mr Kuramshin was hoping to highlight corruption within the public prosecutor’s office.
It is the view of many lawyers from outside and inside of Kazakhstan that the charges against Mr Kuramshin were fabricated in order to hide the corruption in Kazakhstan that he was trying to expose.
The original trial against Mr Kuramshin was constantly postponed, causing him to declare a hunger strike in order to get the court to reconvene. In August 2012, despite being acquitted of all the charges, Kazakhstan’s appeal court subsequently revoked the decision to acquit him and he was again rearrested and put on trial. This time he was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
HCLC’s Paul Heron, who won the Law Society’s ‘Solicitor of the Year-In House’ Award in October 2012, believes that Mr Kuramshin’s trial was unfair. Paul believes there were many fundamental breaches in the way the trial was conducted such as the judge appearing to openly take sides with the prosecution, no defence or prosecution witnesses being questioned, and Mr Kuramshin not being able to see the documents containing information about the charges brought against him.
A new court hearing will take place next week.
Paul Heron said: “Kazakhstan is a state that has a very poor record on human rights. The vast majority of the population live in poverty and those who speak out against the regime or organise mass resistance are harassed, jailed, even killed.”
“As a supporter of ‘Campaign Kazakhstan’ an organisation that highlights human rights abuses in that country I was appalled at the treatment of Vadim Kuramshin a human rights lawyer. He was prosecuted last year on trumped up charges, found not guilty by a jury, and has now been re-arrested and imprisoned for 12 years – presumably because the regime do not like it when justice has its day”.
“I would urge people who care about justice and human rights to email write protest letters to the embassy in London and to President Nazarbeyev of Kazazhstan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ‘CAMPAIGN KAZAZHSTAN’, THE CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT VADIM KURAMSHIN, CLICK HERE.