Kazakh leader rejects international probe into deadly unrest

AFP , Saturday 29 Jan 2022

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev Saturday rejected calls for an international probe into a crisis that leftover 200 people dead and prompted the country to call in Russia-led troops.

Kazakhstan s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Kazakhstan s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks during his televised statement to the nation in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Jan. 7, 2022.

Tokayev and other Kazakh officials have blamed the clashes that sent Central Asia's richest country into turmoil earlier this month on bandits and terrorists with foreign connections while providing little proof to back up the theory.

In his first televised interview since the crisis began, Tokayev reiterated that Kazakhstan had been under attack from militants and said the state would be able to probe the events without foreign help.

"As concerns an international investigation into the events in Kazakhstan, I don't see the need for such an investigation. We have our own people that are honest, objective," Tokayev said in the interview shown by the state broadcaster Khabar.

International rights organisations and the European Parliament are among those that have pushed for an international investigation into the violence that erupted following peaceful protests that initially targeted a fuel price hike in the west of the country before extending to other political demands.

Tokayev called the European parliament's January 20 resolution "unobjective, premature" in his interview.

"It does not worry me," he added.

The European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding "a proper international investigation into the crimes committed against the people of Kazakhstan" during the violence.

Several people detained during the crisis have claimed following their releases that they were tortured by police in detention.

Other citizens have accused soldiers of firing on civilian cars during the state of emergency that ended last week.

Kazakhstan's state prosecutor said that hundreds of people in detention are being investigated for terrorism and crimes linked to mass disturbances.

A contingent of over 2,000 troops from the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation began arriving in the country on January 6 and completed its withdrawal some two weeks later after the situation stabilised.

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