Kazakhstan Launches Probe into Use of Police Force During Deadly Protests
The Intel Hub
December 30, 2011
ASTANA (BNO NEWS) — Prosecutors in Kazakhstan have launched an investigation into the use of weapons by police during a protest earlier this month, leaving more than a dozen people killed and many others injured.
The clashes erupted on December 16 as the Central Asian nation marked the 20th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union. Police moved in to clear the main square in the town of Zhanaozen for independence celebrations but were charged by the oil workers, who have been demanding higher wages for months.
As a result of the incident, at least sixteen people were killed and more than 80 others were injured. But protesters and witnesses claimed police opened fire on unarmed protesters, and one eyewitness told the BBC how an unarmed man died in her arms after being shot.
A spokeswoman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Virginie Coulloudon, told CNN on Thursday that the government of Kazakhstan has informed OSCE that its general prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into police actions. The internal security department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has also launched an in-house investigation.
“The conclusions of this investigation, according to Kazakh sources, should be available within a week,” Coulloudon told CNN via email.
The Kazakh general prosecutor’s office said in a statement on its website on Thursday that 20 people had been detained over alleged involvement in the unrest, with 18 of the arrests ordered by a court. A criminal case was opened on Tuesday into the alleged excessive use of force by police who opened fire. However, it noted that some of the deaths were not related to the actions of law enforcement.