The state TV channel was to show violent foreign terrorists. When they found out who it was, the video was deleted.
The Kazakh TV channel Qazaqstan broadcast pictures from a local prison over the weekend. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. On one of the cliffs you could see a beaten man.
In the video, the man claims to have traveled from neighboring Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan to take part in “the violent protests”. He should have received around 200 dollars for this. But viewers in the neighboring country so quickly saw that there was no violent rebel.
The battered man was Vikram Ruzakhunov, a well-known jazz musician from Kyrgyzstan.
In the wrong place at the wrong time
The video caused an uproar on social media in Kyrgyzstan. Several demanded that the country withdraw its peacekeepers, who have been sent to Kazakhstan.
On Sunday, several people lined up outside Kazakhstan’s embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. There they demonstrated against the arrest.
The musician is often said to have traveled to Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, according to the authorities in his home country.
After the Kazakh authorities became aware of who was in the video, it was deleted by the state television channel.
The video also prompted Kyrgyz authorities to send a letter to the Almaty authorities. In the letter, they demanded that the musician be released.
“Most likely he has been in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Kamchybek Tashyev, Kyrgyzstan’s deputy prime minister, according to the news agency. Tass.
Blame it on international terrorists
On Monday, the musician was sent back to his home country. There he was met by a large press campaign.
– He says that he was arrested together with several people. When he was arrested, there were rumors that if you showed up for the cameras, there was an opportunity to get out of prison.
This is what Ivar Dale, professional adviser in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, says. Dale has previously lived in Almaty for several years.
All indications are that the musician became a random victim of the authorities’ violent response to the demonstrations and riots in the country.
Dale says the musician’s arrest is linked to recent statements by the President of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has said the demonstrations could be linked to international terrorism. He has said that the protesters are terrorists, who have been trained abroad, Dale says to Aftenposten.
The authorities in the country have tried to present the demonstrations as an external threat.
– But so far no one has seen anything of these terrorists. The latest attempt by the authorities in the country has been to claim that the terrorists have broken into the morgues and stolen the bodies of the terrorists, Dale says.
It was after these statements, that the video of Ruzakhunov appeared.
– There has been much speculation that he had been tortured. He himself says that he was subjected to violence in connection with the arrest, says Dale.
“Terrorists continue to destroy property and use weapons against civilians,” Tokayev said in a televised speech last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that terrorists, trained abroad, have taken part in the violent clashes, writes BBC.
Kazakh authorities have called for assistance from the Collective Security Pact in the fight against “terrorists and bandits”. The force is a response to the post-Soviet version of NATO, according to Dale.
– The force will be used to fight external enemies. But since the president claims the protesters are international terrorists, a justification has been obtained for using the force.
The collective security pact includes forces from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Today, the internet in the country came on for the first time in several days.
– It is only now that we get information from those we know on the ground in Kazakhstan. There are many indications that the country will go in a more authoritarian direction, says Dale.