Tomorrow, on April 27, 2021, the final stage of the trial in the high-profile case concerning anti-Dungan pogroms that took place more than a year ago, on February 7-8, 2020, will begin in Taraz, Kazakhstan. Announcing the final verdict will take more than one day, as there are more than 50 people in the dock, 14 of whom are ethnic Dungans, who had been forced to defend their families from the pogromists.
We have already published the last word of the accused Dungans, who appealed to justice, said that they defended the lives of their relatives and fellow villagers, and that they had given their confessions to investigators under pressure. The defendants pointed to the lack of proof of their guilt, to gaps and violations in the investigation process. During the court hearings, flagrant facts of torture and beatings of those under investigation became known. During the court hearings, the lawyers presented convincing evidence that the investigation was biased. The most serious charges concern the murder of a participant in the pogrom, who earlier had killed two Dungans with a car, but there is not a single direct witness statement against the Dungans, who were brought before the court. This fact was emphasized by Mrs. Luiza Tashmetova, the lawyer defending Y.Cheshanlo. Mrs. Aliya Zhamanbaeva, the lawyer defending Schimar Sangui, proved that there was a forgery of the alleged murder weapon (the fork) and numerous errors in the forensic medical examination. In addition, in his last speech, Mr. Cheshanlo admitted that he had earlier slandered Mr. Sangui under pressure from the investigation.
Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” has repeatedly stated that there was an accusatory bias in this legal process, when the blame for what happened was actually placed on the ethnic Dungans, who had been themselves the victims of the pogrom. Mr. Bolat Omarov, the lawyer of seven Dungan defendants, spoke about this in court. The investigation ignored the fact that the rioters freely drove through a police checkpoint and just as freely drove back with the looted property. Facts indicating the organized nature of the pogrom were not investigated either.
During the court debate, lawyer Mr. D. Mombayev said:
“The Dungans went out to defend their homes and families. Without their active actions to protect and block the villages of Bular Batyr and Sortobe, there would have been more casualties and destruction. It should be borne in mind that they were in danger of being left homeless and suffering at the hands of a raging crowd or being killed”. The Dungans, seeing the actual situation according to the information they received from the village of Masanchi, realized that the same could take place in the villages of Sortobe and Bular Batyr, their compact ethnic settlements. Therefore, they took all effective measures for the defense of the villages where they lived. Now they are being accused of participation in mass riots, which were accompanied by pogroms, violence and destruction of property. They are accused of the actions, where they themselves were the victims. It’s absurd! The public closely follows the outcome of this case. Please, do not consider this an attempt to influence the court’s decision, but I urge the court to draw the correct conclusions from the evidence and properly assess the evidence”.