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Call for Kazakh poet to be moved from solitary confinement

Thank you for supporting the campaign by PEN International to help move Kazakh poet Aron Atabek from solitary confinement, where he had been until November 2013. In December 2013 it was confirmed by the poet’s lawyer that he would be transferred to a minimum security jail closer to his family in Almaty. Click here for the full update from PEN. Click here to read a letter and poem written by Atabek to PEN.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The 60-year-old Kazakh poet Aron Atabek has been in prison since 2007. He was placed in solitary confinement for two years as punishment for writing a book that criticises President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and is due for return to the general prison population at the end of 2014. He has previously spent two years in solitary confinement for refusing to wear a prison uniform: one third of his incarceration so far has been spent in isolation. Both the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee against Torture have concluded that prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture.

Atabek is currently imprisoned in what has been described as one of Kazakhstan's harshest jails. He has been in solitary confinement since December 2012 and will continue to stay there until the end of 2014: this is his punishment for writing The Heart of Eurasia, a blunt critique of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his government.

For more info on his case, see the appeal by PEN International, and click here to read a thank-you letter from Atabek's son Aidar Aidarkhan to supporters.

Send an automatic letter now to the authorities asking them to move him from solitary confinement and to a prison closer to his family. (The letter will be sent in Russian.)

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