Kazakh police have for the first time announced the number of civilians killed during anti-government riots in Almaty. He said 149 people were killed. However, it is not known how many people died among the residents who did not take part in the clashes, but Radio Svoboda reported that officers were accidentally killed by gunfire.
More than a week after the anti-government riots, Almaty’s official information has not been released, which is why Kazakh activists and human rights defenders began collecting information on their own wounded, killed, arrested and missing.
Police Chief Kanat Timardenov in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, released the official data on Sunday. He also said 11 law enforcement officers were killed. “However, he did not mention the number of casualties among the people who did not take part in the riots, but he was accidentally killed by gunfire,” Radio Svoboda police said in a statement.
The father did not ask for an arrest warrant
Radio Svoboda announced that the entire family had died at the hands of security forces in the Almaty area. According to human rights defenders, the husband, wife and their fifteen – year – old daughter died on the evening of January 8 in the town of Taldigorgan. The army opened fire because the family’s father did not ask for an arrest warrant.
Human rights defenders also have evidence that a 12-year-old boy in Almaty was shot dead when he went with his mother to a grocery store near the police station. The line was out. One of the bullets struck the boy in the head during a street shooting. “He lay on the ground for about 15 minutes, but no one could reach him. Then they took him away, but he was already dead,” Radio Svoboda told the story.
Rows in front of mortuaries
Kazakh human rights activists have previously said the list of confirmed deaths of residents who did not attend the riots has risen to 17. Another 11 were reported missing. Dozens of people gathered in front of mortuaries in Almaty and other cities trying to find out anything about the fate of their relatives. Queues were also set up in front of police stations who did not want to report information about those arrested. There have been massive reports of torture by Kazakh activists on detainees during peaceful protests.
Almaty police said Sunday that most of the 149 people killed were “terrorists.” Across the country, 225 people were killed as a result of the unrest, according to the Attorney General of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Health has added that 175 of the victims have died in hospitals. According to the lawsuit, 4,578 people were injured during the “January events.”
Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, has called on Kazakh authorities to conduct an effective and impartial investigation into all allegations of human rights abuses, including the use of weapons by security forces.
Struggle following rising gas prices
In Kazakhstan in early January Protests erupted in the New Year condemning the rise in LPG prices. The protests escalated, and protesters’ demands included political issues, including the resignation of the government and the departure of longtime former leader Narsultan Nazarbayev from politics. Violent clashes and riots took place with police in Almaty. Authorities said a “coup d’etat led by armed terrorists” had taken place.
On January 6, a 2,500-strong “peacekeeping force” of the Russian-led Joint Security Agreement entered Kazakhstan to ensure the security of key administrative and military facilities. The group left the country on January 13.
Key Photo Source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER
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