‘I’m just standing!’ Kazakh police detain activist holding blank sheet of paper


Intending to draw public attention to the human rights situation in the country, a young Kazakh came to the square in Uralsk on May, 6. He had a blank poster in his hands.

As a rule, Kazakh activists have difficulty receiving the authorities permission for holding rallies or pickets.

“They will take me to a police department even if there are no inscriptions on my poster and I do not chant any slogans,” 24-year-old Nur-Aslan Sagutdinov said on Facebook.

Nur-Aslan’s standing lasted only a few minutes; the road police arrived and detained him. The young man stressed that the policemen were quarrelling as they did not know what to do with him. Finally, he was questioned and released.

According to Nur-Aslan, his compatriots are even afraid to stage a rally or show up at such event.

“They [people] write something on posters, hang them and leave, but they are identified [by special services] and placed under arrest for 5-15 days. I have just put our authorities’ absurdity and insanity under spotlight,” he stressed.

The police will not leave him in peace, the activist believes.

Sagutdinov violated the law on holding peaceful rallies, the press service of the regional police department reports. According to them, it is not showing off a blank poster that was a problem, but his statement about the ‘lack of democracy and freedom of speech in Kazakhstan’.

To support the activist, a number of Kazachs are taking part in an online ‘blank sheet’ flashmob.


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