Sep 1, 2009
It has come to my attention, that the Kazakh authorities are using a terrible accident to silence a human rights activist. Super classy, Kazakhstan.
According to Human Rights Watch, Yevgeniy Zhovtis, one of Kazakhstan's most prominent human rights defenders, is being charged with manslaughter after a very unfortunate car accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.
In July, Zhovtis was temporarily blinded by the high beams of an oncoming car while driving in Almaty province. The car struck Kanat Moldabayev. Zhovtis tried to avoid hitting the man, but failed. The prosecution's forensic analysis found that Zhovtis was neither intoxicated nor driving above the speed limit at the time of the accident.
All the same, Zhovtis faces trial tomorrow, and if found guilty could face a 5 year prison sentence. Many believe that the authorities are manipulating the case so that Zhovtis is imprisoned and kept from his work. If you share this fear, please write your local Kazakh Embassy immediately and call on them to ensure a fair trial for Mr. Zhovtis.