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An appeal by Aliya Turusbekova

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

During mid-November, I visited Vladimir Kozlov in the penal colony in Petropavlovsk, and now I am very concerned. I am afraid that my husband may not be released from prison alive and healthy.

I will try to describe what is happening to him without revealing unnecessary emotions.

First of all, Vladimir Ivanovich has serious health problems - he can barely walk. Pain in his right hip joint has progressed to the whole his leg. The pain is so intense that he even has difficulty dressing and undressing. But despite the pain and the problems he has with blood vessels, he is being forced to carry out heavy physical work, after which he is unable recover for two days.

A neurologist, who came to the colony, refused to treat him. He diagnosed my husband as malingering!!! A paid medical examination can only be carried out outside the colony. To do this, we need to get permission from the administration, but they refuse to give it to us.

I know well that there are regulations, on the basis of which, prisoners are entitled to undergo private medical treatment. But in reality, it resembles a concentration camp of the Stalinist period. I now perfectly understand the wives and mothers of those who ended up behind bars. It is very scary for relatives of those incarcerated. Many come out of prison disabled. I have good reason to believe that the doctor will only begin to treat Vladimir Ivanovich when his leg stops functioning altogether. Or when he suffers from a stroke as a result of the problems he has with blood vessels of the cerebral cortex. Until such time, the local doctors will do nothing!

Secondly, a "vacuum" has been artificially created around my husband - he is restricted from contact with prisoners. Talking to Vladimir causes serious repercussions for other prisoners, including physical violence.

You are familiar with Vladimir Ivanovich, and surely you remember that he has always been a sociable man. Now all of his communication has been reduced to contact with overseers and the prison administration. He is all alone. He holds on, but he is also very depressed. It amounts to real torture, which, I think, not everyone could withstand.

I recently read the 'Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners' adopted by the United Nations Congress, and I cried. I cried thinking about how far are we from what is written in these standards. They, for example, say that the mere fact of deprivation of liberty is already a punishment, and thus a prison system should not aggravate the suffering arising from this situation. And what is happening in our country? They are afraid to torture Vladimir physically, as he is still known in Kazakhstan and beyond as a politician, so they apply all sorts of methods of moral and psychological pressure against him.

Thirdly, Vladimir's every step is watched by dozens of so-called 'activists', who later write tons of denunciations against him. They catch his every look and every word, and they start writing subsequent reports expressing a requirement to bring him to justice. That is what happened with those two reprimands that Vladimir received. Even during my visit he was accompanied by an activist from his unit.

The pressure applied upon him is tough, permanent and in-human. If it continues, Vladimir may break - refuse, for example, to work. Thus, he will formally become a violator of the order, and will be placed in a punishment cell as a malicious infringer. And this would also change the serving conditions, resulting in, for example, his transferral from a general regime colony to a strict regime colony, not to mention the revocation of his right to telephone conversations, visits and deliveries. But he may simply not have another choice.

I am confident that by these means, they are trying to break my husband. Force him, for example, to plead guilty. He has heard it many times before - confess, and you will get have your sentence reduced. It is also possible that they will try to force him into giving another testimony - against those, who are now abroad.
I am asking for your help, because our authorities only react to pressure from European institutions and western human rights defenders.

I am very scared for my husband.

Aliya Turusbekova

tags: Kozlov Aliya

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