COPENHAGEN, 29 July 2015 – Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, today raised grave concerns over the treatment of jailed Kazakhstani opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov.

Kozlov has been subjected to punitive measures for alleged violations of prison rules. He briefly declared a hunger strike last week to protest his treatment after he was placed in solitary confinement and later transferred to a strict-regime cellblock.

“The conditions under which Vladimir Kozlov is being held are totally unacceptable. Not only is Mr. Kozlov unjustly detained, but now he is being subjected to harsh treatment,” said Santos. “Moreover, these measures could adversely affect his parole eligibility and keep him behind bars despite his poor health.”

In June 2014, Santos met with Kozlov at a penal colony outside Almaty, where they discussed the conditions of his detention and the political system in Kazakhstan.

The leader of the unregistered Alga (Forward) party, Kozlov was sentenced in October 2012 on charges that included attempting to overthrow the government in connection with his role in the mass strike by oil workers in Zhanaozen in December 2011.

International human rights NGOs, several Western governments and leading voices in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly have supported Kozlov's claim that the case against him is meant to silence the opposition.

In her meetings with Kazakhstan authorities, Santos has repeatedly encouraged the release of those imprisoned in politically motivated cases, including Aron Atabek and Vadim Kuramshin. She has also welcomed signs of willingness on the part of Kazakhstan’s government to openly discuss these cases.