07ASTANA1705, KAZAKHSTAN: LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEMOLISHES HARE KRISHNA HOMES

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07ASTANA1705.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA1705 2007-06-19 09:51 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9332
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #1705/01 1700951
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190951Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9856
INFO RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0213
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0461
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0480
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1763

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001705 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (M. O'MARA) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL KDEM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEMOLISHES HARE KRISHNA HOMES 
DESPITE ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS 
 
REF: A. 06 ASTANA 651, B. 06 ASTANA 668, C. 06 ASTANA 903 
 D. ASTANA 232, E. ASTANA 1371 
 
ASTANA 00001705  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Early on May 15, Karasai district officials 
demolished an additional 12 homes at the Hare Krishna commune 
outside of Almaty.  As they did during the November 2006 
demolitions, the police forced residents out of their homes while 
crews threw their possessions outside and demolished the houses with 
hand tools and excavators.  There were no arrests or incidents of 
violence.  Karasai district officials carried out the 
long-threatened evictions despite Government of Kazakhstan 
assurances that the dispute would be resolved peacefully, through 
negotiations.  End summary. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
LOCAL OFFICIALS DEMOLISH 12 MORE HOUSES... 
------------------------------------------ 
 
 
 
 
2. (SBU) Late on May 14, Hare Krishna representatives reported that 
they received a tip that Karasai district officials were organizing 
a demolition crew to come to the Hare Krishna commune the following 
morning.  Unlike previous false warnings (Ref E), the tip proved 
accurate.  On May 15, Karasai district officials led a team of local 
hired laborers to demolish 12 additional homes at the commune 
outside of Almaty.  Local officials acted pursuant to a court order 
calling for the eviction of the residents. According to Hare Krishna 
representatives and Andrey Grishin, a reporter for the Kazakhstan 
International Human Rights Bureau, the demolition crew arrived at 5 
a.m. with approximately 100 police officers. Karasai district 
officials, aided by their police escorts, forced residents from 
their homes, and the demolition crews began throwing possessions 
outside and tearing the structures apart with hand tools. The 
demolition crews then used excavators to knock down the walls, in 
the process damaging some adjacent buildings not slated for 
demolition. 
 
3.  (SBU) Hare Krishna representatives said that the demolition 
crews ignored the pleas of residents to spare their houses.  In 
contrast to the previous demolitions on November 21, 2006 (Ref A), 
the Hare Krishnas reported no arrests or violence arising out of the 
demolitions.  The demolition crews did not destroy the large house 
that the Krishnas use as their temple, located on a separate plot of 
land, though they fear this destruction could come at any time given 
the May 8 Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for authorities to 
confiscate that land (Ref E). According to the Hare Krishnas, they 
have about a dozen cottages remaining, plus the large house and a 
cowshed. 
 
4. (SBU) The Hare Krishnas said that a reporter from Vremya 
newspaper witnessed the demolitions, along with Grishin. Grishin 
said that local authorities were less aggressive with the 
journalists this time around, though village akim Bagdad Akhmetayev 
tried to confiscate the camera phone of one resident when the 
resident filmed him holding a sledgehammer and participating in the 
demolition. Akhmetayev relented when journalists approached. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
...DESPITE ASTANA'S PLEDGE TO NEGOTIATE 
-------------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Karasai district officials proceeded with the demolitions 
despite public and private assurances by Government of Kazakhstan 
officials that the long-running dispute would be resolved through 
negotiations.  As reported in Ref E, Vice Chairman of the Religious 
Issues Committee Amanbek Mukhashov, Human Rights Ombudsman Bolat 
Baykadamov, deputy head of the Presidential Administration Maulen 
Ashimbayev, and chairman of the Religious Issues Committee in the 
Ministry of Justice Yeraly Tugzhanov previously stated both 
privately and publicly that Kazakhstan would resolve the conflict 
through negotiations and that the Government of Kazakhstan was ready 
to provide another piece of land in Almaty for construction of a new 
Hare Krishna temple. 
 
6. (SBU) Tugzhanov previously told Hare Krishna representatives that 
he was working with Almaty city officials to find a new piece of 
land for the Hare Krishnas. However, Krishna representatives 
questioned the sincerity of the government's interest in finding an 
acceptable solution. On May 25 and 30, Hare Krishna representatives 
said they visited plots of land offered by local officials in the 
Ilisky and Talgar districts in Almaty oblast, but the land plots 
were very small, were located over 100 km away from the city, did 
not have electricity or water, and were not suitable for 
 
ASTANA 00001705  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
agricultural uses.  The Hare Krishnas rejected the land plots, and 
stated in a May 30 press release that this solution "amounts only to 
rubbing the proposed salty earth into the wounds
of a hard-hit 
religious minority." 
 
-------------------------------- 
GOVERNMENT BEGINS DAMAGE CONTROL 
-------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU)  The Hare Krishnas continue to wage a public relations 
campaign to bring attention to the latest round of demolitions, 
issuing press releases and posting photographs of the destruction on 
their website (http://www.kazakhkrishna.com/ru-fotoarchive/ ). The 
Kazakhstan International Bureau of Human Rights, Almaty Helsinki 
Committee, and the Institute on Religion and Public Policy have 
already condemned the government's actions. 
 
8. (SBU) On June 16, Tugzhanov stated during a news conference in 
Astana that the demolitions were legal and were based on court 
rulings that the Hare Krishnas did not have valid ownership of the 
land. He said that the Hare Krishnas had been notified many times of 
the pending court executions, and could have prevented this 
"scandalous" situation if they had obeyed earlier court orders. 
Tugzhanov also stated that no political or religious meaning should 
be attached to the demolitions, as the issue was purely an economic 
dispute between citizens of Kazakhstan and the local government. 
 
9. (SBU) OSCE Human Dimension Officer Eugenia Benigni told us that 
Tugzhanov stated to her on June 18 that the government has tried to 
resolve the situation by offering new plots of land but the Hare 
Krishnas have refused several offers.  He defended the quality of 
the land plots that were offered to the Hare Krishnas, and said the 
Hare Krishnas were being unreasonable.  He stated that it was 
possible there would be more offers, but said that relations between 
the parties were very tense. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
10. (SBU) Comment:  Once again, aggressive local authorities have 
acted in contradiction to the stated intentions of officials in 
Astana, signaling a lack of real political will in Astana to reach 
an acceptable negotiated settlement for the Hare Krishnas.  We 
expect that Kazakhstani officials will adhere to Tugzhanov's line 
that the demolitions were legal and were justified by the Hare 
Krishnas' refusal to accept "reasonable" offers of new land. The 
government's conduct demonstrates that the Hare Krishnas have very 
little hope for a fair resolution to their dispute.  End comment. 
 
ORDWAY

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: