Kazakhstan, 24.10.2014; source: Respublika
This Wednesday, Aliya Turusbekova visited Vladimir Kozlov, a political prisoner. As Vladimir has recently had problems with the administration of the penal colony, we have asked her to describe how things stand for him now.
It turned out that the problems had been temporarily resolved but, according to Aliya, there is nothing to be happy about. Why so? Read the interview she gave to Respublika.
- Aliya, how is Vladimir doing now?
- I saw him on October 22. He is alright and sends his greetings to everyone. He has been transferred to another group of prisoners, and currently, he is appealing a penalty he incurred through the Kapchagay court - the reprimand he was given this August for having allegedly been in the wrong group. His appeal has been already allowed to proceed.
Apart from that, he reads newspapers that I send him, and analyses everything. He is going to write articles related to changes in legislation, including criminal legislation.
- Why should he suddenly start studying legislation?
- He knows what prison is, and he sees that what we get instead of humanisation is constant toughening. He experiences all the "delights" of the new laws first hand, that's why he has some material for comparison, and that's why he has something to say.
For example, there is a new law that will come into force on January 1, 2015. Currently Volodya, as a person serving his sentence under general conditions, has a right to four long and four short visits per year. Starting from the next year, he will only have a right to two long visits per year: see the difference?
I don't know who enacts these laws but they disadvantage the prisoners greatly. This is all allegedly done for the prisoners' benefit, in order to prevent corruption. But in fact it's just the other way round - corruption has increased.
- What are Vladimir's relations with his new group?
- Generally, they are alright. He counsels prisoners, most of whom don't know their rights. That's why people turn to him very often, asking for help, for a piece of advice, and he counsels them. Unfortunately, lots of prisoners believe in such miracles as humanisation or amnesty. Many of them don't even know why they were put into prison, under what article. So Volodya is trying to help them.
- Was the pressure on him removed?
- Currently there is no pressure as such. As far as I understand, it's either a respite or a ceasefire… Maybe it's the calm that precedes the storm; I don't know. But he has been transferred to another group, and there have been no incidents in it so far. Of course I understand how it works: today there are no incidents and tomorrow incidents may unfold, because here everything is done on an order. It has been like this since 2009. But currently it's alright, thank God.
- Thank you so much for your account, Aliya. Good luck!