View Adopted: 2020.03.12
The author is a national of Kazakhstan who claims that the State Party has violated his rights under articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant.
Approximately 15 activists from the Union of the Deaf, including the author, decided to draw the Government’s attention to the sudden rise in the prices of electricity, water, and other utility services. Since some of the participants had hearing disabilities, they came with posters bearing relevant slogans. Following the gathering, the police apprehended the author and issued an administrative record against him for a violation of the legislation on organizing and holding peaceful assemblies. On 15 March 2013, the author was found guilty of organizing an unauthorized public gathering and sentenced him to a fine in the amount of 346,070 tenges (approximately $230).
The author claims that by sentencing to a fine, the State party violated his rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly under articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant. He maintains that the State party has violated to provide any justification as to why it was necessary to restrict his rights.
In imposing a procedure for the organization of mass events, the Committee noted that the State party had imposed limitations on the author’s rights, in particular on his right to impart information and ideas of all kinds and his right of peaceful assembly. The Committee, therefore, proceeded to determine whether the restrictions imposed can be justified under the relevant articles.
In relation to the author’s claims under the freedom of expression, the Committee observed that the State party had failed to invoke any specific grounds to support the necessity of the restrictions imposed on the author, as well as the necessity of his apprehension and administrative fine. In the absence of such an explanation, the Committee concluded that the author’s rights under article 19 (2) had been violated.
In relation to the author's claims under the right of peaceful assembly, the Committee noted that even in the case of an unauthorized assembly, any interference with the right of peaceful assembly must be justified under the second sentence of article 21. In the present case, the Committee observed that neither the State party nor domestic courts had provided any explanations as to how the author’s apprehension and administrative fine were justified. Accordingly, it concluded that the facts before it also revealed a violation of the author’s rights under article 21 of the Covenant.