On her Facebook profile, Aliya Turusbekova, the wife of the Kazakh human rights defender Vladimir Kozlov, wrote about an unexpected glowing report for Kozlov from his prison's sewing school. Capable, responsible - this is what the description says. On the other hand, it was only very recently that the colony's administration ranked Kozlov's intellectual capacities as average, and the prison's commission recorded a negative opinion on the oppositionist's conduct.
Turusbekova expressed her surprise because, as she says, the Kazakh Prison Committee (KUIS), and Idilov, the head of the colony where Kozlov is staying, in particular, did all they could to stop positive opinions about Alga's leader coming to light. It was only very recently that Kozlov was denied a transfer to a colony with a less stringent regime based on a character reference given by Idilov who described the oppositionist's intellectual abilities as average and said that he was a threat to his fellow prisoners. This week, the prisoners in the Zarekhnoye colony were also assessed by the commission. The members of the prison commission granted Kozlov a so-called "first negative grade" which, in Aliya's opinion, rules out the chance of a change in the terms of his service of his sentence. However, in the system of grades, the first negative grade in conduct is higher than grade two and three. The third grade is attributed to those who regularly and wilfully violate the colony's rules.
In Turusbekova's view, the teachers from the prison school did not yield to the pressures or did not think about the implications of the positively phrased documents. Kozlov's wife thinks it is not unlikely that they will be forced to withdraw the character reference. Aliya has no illusions because, as she says, even the witnesses in Kozlov's trial changed their testimonies, first referring to his innocence and then saying he was guilty.
In addition to manual work and sewing, the prison school teaches the English and Kazakh languages and the history of Kazakhstan. While in prison, Kozlov also set up a cultural and educational group. According to the administration's official criteria, such conduct is the basis for changing the terms of service of a prison sentence to one less stringent or even to a conditional discharge. However, a single assessment issued by the prison school will not suffice to change Kozlov's situation.