Verdict announced in the case of anti-Dungan pogroms in Kazakhstan

On April 27, 2021 the court in Taraz, Southern Kazakhstan, announced its final verdict in the case concerning anti-Dungan pogroms, which had occurred in February 2020. The longest terms of imprisonment (15-20 years) were received by the attackers, whose actions (including the use of firearms and running people over with cars) led to the deaths of several people.

Among the ethnic Dungans, who were among the defendants in this case, the most severe punishments were given to Schimar Sangui and Yubur Cheshanlo, who were charged and sentenced for murder (16.5 years in prison), and Ersa Daurov – for shooting at police officers (16 years in prison). Three Dungans, who also had been charged with murder, were acquitted from these charges, but they were sentenced to 5 years in prison each for participating in the riots.

The majority of convicts (a total of 31 persons) have received suspended sentences (5-6 years) for participating in the riots and inciting the riots. These include six ethnic Dungans, who had been forced to defend themselves and their families from the rioters.

Of the 51 defendants, only one – Ismar Ushirov, an ethnic Dungan – was acquitted, since his guilt was not proven.

Khusey Daurov, chairman of the Dungan Association of Kazakhstan, called the verdict “relatively fair”. He welcomed the imposition of a suspended sentence on both the ethnic Dungans and the convicted Kazakh pogromists, as most of them had been tricked into engaging in the conflict. “The true culprits have not been convicted, the root causes of this conflict have yet to be unearthed,” he said. Mr. Daurov attaches particular importance to a private ruling, which the court should issue to the Kazakhstan’s State Committee for National Security, the police, the prosecutor’s office, and the local akimats [local self-government], due to the inaction of which the pogromists freely traveled to the Dungan villages and went back together with the looted property without any restraint.

It is important for us that such conflicts never happen again in any part of Kazakhstan,” Mr. Daurov said. “The worst thing is what people have endured, – he added. – The women, who had stood all night in a ravine and had covered the mouths of their babies so that they would not cry and the thugs would not hear them. Our people have not yet recovered from the stress, from the shock they had endured. People are at a loss. Unfortunately, about 200 families left for Kyrgyzstan, for Russia, many others are thinking about packing up their suitcases. Sentencing several Dungans to real prison terms will not keep people from leaving. We will appeal this verdict in court”.

Mr. Daurov emphasized that during the trial the lawyers of Schimar Sangui and Ersa Daurov have proved their innocence. In addition, further claims for damages will be filed, since the compensation paid to the Dungans, who had suffered from the pogrom (213 million tenge), is much less than the damage that had been originally estimated by the first government commission (1.7 billion tenge).

Mr. Daurov pointed to the one-sided coverage of the conflict in the media and concealing of facts about its organized nature of pogroms:

“We must call things by their proper names. In order to solve the problem, you need to find the reasons, to admit the existing deficiencies. Unfortunately, nationalistic sentiments have intensified in Kazakhstan. This does not do any good to Kazakhstan, which was famous for its peacefulness and friendship between people of various ethnicities”.

A complete list of convicts was published by Turainfo (in Kazakh language); official comments were given to Informburo.kz.