According to ITUC on March 20th, the leader of the Independent Oil and Energy Workers’ Union in Kazakhstan, Erlan Baltabay got out of jail. But the fine he was sentenced to, is not nullified, and he is not allowed to be involved in any trade union activity for 7 years. In 2018 his confederation, the Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, was awarded the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights.
Baltabay had already been released from prison in August 2019, following a special decree by Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, that he be released on humanitarian grounds. This was preceded by a massive international trade union campaign, calling to reverse the unlawful sentence, which was considered by the international trade union movement a travesty of justice.
The Decree, however, did only ordered his release and did not nullify the sentence that included a fine. Erlan refused to pay that fine, claiming the right to appeal the sentence, the right that he was denied. Hence, in October 2019, Baltabay was returned to prison for 5 months for not paying this fine and served that term in full.
Currently, Baltabay is not allowed to be involved in any trade union activity for 7 years.
Kazakhstan is among one of the worst workers’ rights violators in the world and continues repressions against activists of the ITUC – affiliated Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Kazakhstan the forcefully dissolved by the authorities.