Imprisoned Kazakh Poet Aron Atabek Marks 64th Birthday

January 31, 2017 is 64th birthday of poet and dissident Aron Atabek who is serving longtime prison term in Kazakh prison and who faced criminal charges after protesting against mass eviction of inhabitants of settlements nearby the largest city of the former Soviet nation.

Kazakh poet Aron Atabek, chairman of unregistered party Alash, outspoken critic of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev, was convicted for 18 years of strict regime by Almaty city court on October 5, 2007 after crisis with mass eviction of inhabitants of shanty-town settlements near Almaty — resulted in July 14 2006 Shanyrak disaster — Aron Atabek was awarded national ‘Svoboda’ (2007) award and International Freedom to Create Prize – Imprisoned Artist 2010 – for continuing creative writing being imprisoned.

Atabek maintains his views and continues writing, while subjected to further harassment in prison and being systematically denied contact with the outside world. Most part of the prison term he served in solitary confinement and harsh conditions.

Atabek vehemently denied charges and insists government responsible for Shanyrak disaster and mass evictions, which he calls a genocide against Kazakh people. Recognized by rights groups as political prisoner he is being kept thousand kilometers away from Almaty, where he lived before his arrest. After his works were published online he was transferred to a prison in north notorious for harsh conditions.

Authorities insist his case had no political pretext. Meanwhile his writings are systematically deprived by prison administration and he is being systematically exposed to ill-treatment. No independent and international observers had visited him in prison. Local public supervisory commission (ONK) not allowed to visit prison in Pavlodar. PEN International campaigned calling to take action for Atabek in prison. In December 2015 London-based activists published his poetry English translation.

Aron Atabek, poet, publicist and author of dozens of articles and books. Editor and publisher of the newspaper Haq (Moscow, 1991). Graduate of the Faculty of Russian Philology at Kazakh State University (KazGU). Participant of December 1986 Almaty demonstrations, later was seeking reassessment by the Politburo of Decmeber-1986 events and release of the participants.

For letters to Atabek use prison address:

УЧ АП-162/1 k.38, Tsiolkovskogo b/n, Pavlodar, 140000, Kazakhstan.
Prison special department phone: +7 (7182) 60-62-05.