ASTANA – On 19 February 2013, Penal Reform International in Central Asia will be organizing a roundtable on “The death penalty and life imprisonment as forms of punishment in the new Criminal Code”. The roundtable will be held in the Mazhilis (lower house) of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Penal Reform International (PRI) is organising the roundtable in cooperation with the Committee on Legislative and Judicial Reform of the Mazhilis and with the NGO “Charter for Human Rights”. The roundtable is being organised with the financial support of the European Union and the British Embassy in Astana. Participants will include parliamentarians, state officials, NGOs, independent experts and representatives of international donor organisations.
The objective of the roundtable is to analyse the new draft Criminal Code with regard to the application the death penalty and its alternative sanctions. According to experts, the draft Criminal Code increases the number of death penalty applicable offences from 18 to 25, which does not comply with Kazakhstan’s policy of phased abolition of the death penalty, approved by the Presidential Decree as of 24 August 2009. Therefore, the roundtable will focus on steps that Kazakhstan should take to reduce death penalty applicable offences from the draft Criminal Code.
Prior to the introduction of a moratorium on executions, 536 people were executed in Kazakhstan. The last execution took place in 2003, before the President signed a Decree establishing a moratorium. Following the moratorium, no death sentences have been handed down. To date, there are approximately 100 men serving a life sentence (minimum of 25 years imprisonment) in Kazakhstan, and that number is growing. However, Kazakhstan has still to implement a programme of rehabilitation or sentence management, meaning that neither prisoner nor society will be ready for their eventual release, which hypothetically, could be as early as 2025, as the first life prisoners were sentenced in 2000. Special attention must therefore be paid to elaborating sentence management plans which include rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes at their core.
This roundtable is part of PRI’s programme of work to support human rights through the progressive abolition of the death penalty and the implementation of humane alternative sanctions. This programme of work is being supported by the European Union, under its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
MEDIA ARE INVITED to participate in the round table to be held on 19 February in conference hall #312 of Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Registration starts at 14.00.
For additional information and accreditation please contact Dinara Dildabekova, PRI project manager, tel./fax: + (7172) 798 885, 798 886, e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org, or Karla Jamankulova, Press and Information Officer of the European Union to Kazakhstan, tel.+ (7172) 97-11-48,Karlygash.Jamankulova@eeas.europa.eu.
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Press release: PRI roundtable on Criminal Code Kazakhstan_Russian