Kazakhstan Banned the Death Penalty

Kazakhstan's capital of Nursultan, named by former president Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev (AFP)



The last post-Soviet state in Asia and the neighbor of Communist China humanises its law.

The President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, signed a law on the ratification of an international treaty prohibiting the use of the death penalty in the country in peacetime. An announcement was posted on the president's website.

The country has joined the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing this type of punishment. The document says that the parties to the protocol consider the abolition to be conducive to the strengthening of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.

Now the mention of this type of punishment needs to be removed from the seventeen articles of the criminal code. The current legislation of Kazakhstan provides for the death penalty for terrorism and especially grave crimes committed during wartime, as well as for encroachment on the life of the country's president and the life of the first head of state of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In the post-Soviet space, only the Belarusian authorities continue to apply the death penalty. Since 1990, more than 400 people sentenced to capital punishment have been shot in Minsk.

A moratorium on the death penalty has been in effect in Russia since 1996. Such sentences are not passed or enforced.


Pro-democratic opposition not allowed to register political party

But the path of Kazakhstan to the democratic state may be long.

In September, the unregistered Democratic Party, targeted government policies allowing the sale of Kazakh land to foreigners, and with speakers warning of creeping Chinese influence in the country.

Kazakhstan did not criticise Communist China for its genocidal policies against Uyghurs and other minorities in East Turkestan, called Xinjiang by Chinese.

Police did not intervene to halt the event, which saw speakers criticizing President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev and calling on him to carry out democratic and economic reforms.
Police and medics were seen patrolling the area and taking people's temperatures as part of anti-Wuhan virus measures.

Demonstrators also chanted slogans demanding freedom for a dissident poet, and, in a sign of the ongoing tensions with neighboring China, calling for Beijing's ambassador to leave the country.


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