Activist who denounced atrocities in China should remain in jail at least until July 10, while heavy Chinese pressures in Kazakhstan continue.
On June 7 the Justice Court of Nur-Sultan (formerly Almaty) ruled to keep Serikzhan Bilash under house arrest until July 10.
Bilash, the head of the Atajurt organization, was already under house arrest pending trial, after his arrest on March 10 for “inciting ethnic hatred.” Serikzhan gathered information through people in Kazakhstan about ethnic Kazakhs persecuted in China and released this information to international human rights organizations.
The prosecutor focused on Bilash’s alleged statements calling for “jihad against the Chinese,” and provided a video of an address he made to a public gathering in February. Bilash, however, claims the comments in the video are taken out of context.
Lead lawyer Aiman Umarova took part in the video court hearing in Almaty. She asked the court to release the defendant on bail. However, the judge rejected the request and decided to keep Serikzhan Bilash under house arrest at least for another month.
Protesters came to the court hearing with posters “China, Stop!” They asked the court to release the head of the organization, and claimed Chinese pressure are beyond the detention of Bilash.