PEN International welcomes the news that the Kazakh poet Aron Atabek has been removed from solitary confinement, but remains concerned that his family has still not had any contact with him.  Atabek’s solitary confinement sentence was recently overturned by the Kostanai Prosecutor’s Office, and he has been transferred back into his previous prison in Karazhal, Karagandy.

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Background Information

In 2012, Aron Atabek was convicted of breaking prison rules following the online publication of his book The Heart of Eurasia, and was sent to a solitary confinement cell in Arkalyk Prison, one of Kazakhstan’s toughest jails. The Heart of Eurasia is highly critical of the Kazakh government in general, and of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in particular. Aron Atabek was moved out of Arkalyk Prison on October 5, 2013. His family received no notice of the move from the Kazakh authorities, and Atabek—in a direct violation of the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners—was not permitted to notify his family of the transfer.

PEN is very concerned that Atabek’s family has still not had any contact with him, and that the prison authorities have yet to officially confirm the poet’s location to the family.

Write A Letter

  • Urging the Minister of Internal Affairs to immediately confirm Atabek’s whereabouts to his family;
  • Demanding that Atabek be allowed regular communication with his family;
  • Raising Aron Atabek’s case with your country’s ambassador to Kazakhstan.

Send Your Letter To

Minister of Internal Affairs
Kalmukhanbet Kassymov
Ministy of Internal Affairs
Tauelsizdik Avenue, 1
010000 Astana
Republic of Kazakhstan
Email: Kense@mvd.kz
Twitter: @MVD_RK

Click here to find your country’s embassy in Kazakhstan.