23 January is the day on which the second anniversary of the imprisonment of Vladimir Kozlov - the leader of the largest Kazakh opposition party 'Alga!', falls. On this occasion, an unusual protest, organised by the Open Dialog Foundation, was carried out in the centre of Warsaw.
Residents of the capital, using the 'Centrum' metro station or strolling along the pedestrian street towards the Central Train Station, had a chance to watch an unusual scene. A prisoner locked in a cage, guarded by two uniformed men, was trying to persuade passers-by to talk with him and asked them to take from him a prison 'kite', which comprised a request for help and support. Next to the cage was a banner with the slogan 'Two faces of Borat's country', on which president Nazarbayev and oppositionist Kozlov were depicted.
Kozlov was arrested in Kazakhstan shortly after his return from Brussels, where, at a meeting with members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, he called for a dialogue and an international investigation into the events in Zhanaozen - a town in which 17 people were killed and 86 were injured during the pacification of the strike, according to official figures.
In August 2012, a court trial began; Kozlov was accused of 'inciting social hatred', 'calling to overthrow the constitutional order', 'establishment and leadership of an organised criminal group with the aim of committing one or more offences, as well as participation in said group'. Two months later, he was sentenced to seven years and six months' imprisonment with confiscation of property, and ordered to pay court costs.
For over a year, Kozlov has been held in a penal colony in Petropavlovsk in the Kazakh part of Siberia. This contravenes Kazakh law, as the penal colony is located thousands of miles from his place of residence, which makes contact with his wife and small child difficult. He lives in a 80-bed barracks and works several hours a day.