View Adopted: 2020.03.13
The author is a national of Kazakstan who claims that the State party has violated his rights under articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant.
On 28 May 2013, the author attempted to schedule a meeting with the akim, the mayor, of Almaty. He sent a letter informing him that a group of residents of Almaty would like to meet with him on 4 June 2020 to discuss those issues. On the author’s social media page, he posted a message describing the letter to the akim and invited those who wanted to participate in the meeting to join him at the akimat building on the proposed date.
In the morning of 4 June 2013, a group of city residents gathered in front of the akimat building for the meeting with the akim. The author submits that the residents did not block the road or prevent passage and that participants neither had posters or sound-enhancing equipment. As the author was leaving his house to join the group, the was arrested by the police and charged with a violation of the legislation on organizing and holding peaceful assembly. On the same day, the court found him guilty of organizing an unsanctioned public gathering and he was sentenced to 7 days of administrative detention.
The author claims that by arresting and sentencing him to the above detention, the State party violated his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.
The Committee took note of the State party’s submission that the author was sanctioned not for expressing his opinion, but for organizing and unlawful gathering for which he did not obtain a prior permit. In that regard, the Committee noted when imposing a procedure for the organization of mass events, the State party effectively imposed restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly. In the present case, the Committee observed that restrictions on the author were not shown to have been justified and proportional. Thus, it found a violation of the freedom of expression under article 19(2).
In relation to the author’s claims under the freedom of assembly, the Committee observed that neither the State party nor domestic courts have provided any explanations as to how the author’s 7-day administrative detention was justified pursuant to the conditions of necessity and proportionality. Accordingly, it concluded that there had been a violation of the author’s right to the freedom of assembly under article 21 of the Covenant.