Wednesday, June 06, 2012 -
A Kazakh civil rights activist who defended the rights of protesting workers in the western oil town of Zhanaozen was found dead in his apartment in Karaganda city on Tuesday.
Takhir Mukhamedzyanov, 51, was found by friends and colleagues who went to his home in the northern industrial city when he failed to turn up to work after the weekend.
There were no signs of violence on his body.
Mukhamedzyanov recently received threats by phone from unknown callers and his research documents have been stolen, the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan said in a statement published in socialistworld.net.
According to the statement, Mukhamedzyanov worked as a miner during the Soviet era in the Karaganda region and later for global steelmaker ArcelorMittal Temirtau. He took up full-time campaigning for workers’ rights after the company “illegally sacked” him in 2008.
Last year, his garage and the car it housed were blown up, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.
The activist was most recently involved in speaking out for hundreds of laid-off oil workers during a months-long protest in Zhanaozen, which erupted into violence in December ending in the deaths of at least 16 of them at the hands of police.
Kazakh authorities are expected to release the results of an autopsy on the body within a couple of days.