The main reason for torture still being used in Kazakhstan is impunity of those who use them

Over one third of Kazakhstan people (34%) think the impunity of offenders is the main reason why tortures are still used against suspects and detainees. Such findings were revealed within the public opinion poll “Tortures in Kazakhstan against suspects and detainees”, conducted by DEMOSCOPE Bureau for Express Monitoring of Public Opinion. 1,560 people from Almaty, Astana and 14 regional centers took part in the poll.

The second reason related to using tortures is low professional qualification of the law enforcement employees, 25% of the respondents stated.

The legal ignorance of the law enforcement officers is the top third reason with 18% of votes. Among the other reasons of using tortures were psychological instability of the law enforcement employees (15%) and their lack of material and social security (8%).

For the majority of respondents (31%), respect to rights of detainees, especially right to notifying relatives, right to counsel and to appeal is the most effective guarantee of security from being tortured in Kazakhstan. 19% are sure that video recording of interrogation can help to prevent tortures.

Among the other protection guarantees mentioned by the respondents are inevitable punishment of those who are guilty for using torture (17%) and protection of detainees in confinement facilities (17%), as well as carrying out impartial internal investigation (16%).

Kazakhstan legislation stipulated fine in the amount of 5,000 monthly calculation indices (near 30,000 euros) or up to 5 years of imprisonment for using tortures without aggravating circumstances.

Such punishment for torture use is considered appropriate by 61% of the poll respondents, while 33% think it is not enough. And only 7% consider it too extreme.

At the same time, 89% of the interviewees are well- aware that using torture is a criminal offence.

One of the controversial issues was the question if the torture victim should get monetary compensation for harm from the state budget.

22% of the respondents agree they should, being sure that the state has to pay for actions of the law enforcement. The majority of interviewees (64%) think it is not right. From their opinion, individuals convicted in court should pay themselves. 14% think it is responsibility of the organization which employs individuals that were found guilty.

To remind, in 1998 Kazakhstan ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which means that the country recognized tortures as crime.

According to the NGO Coalition against Tortures, from October 2016 to October 2017 the Coalition received 202 appeals about tortures, 65 – about cruel treatment and punishment, and 41 – about degrading treatment.

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