Premio | 24.06.2013

The Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize 2013 to Vadim Kuramshin

Meeting in Geneva Law Courts on June 20th, 2013, the Jury of 29 European lawyers awarded the 18th Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize to lawyer from Kazakhstan, Vadim Kuramshin.

Vadim Kuramshin is a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, currently sentenced to 12 years in prison, well known for his defense of victims of those serving sentences and suffering beatings in prison and for his investigations into the murder of prisoners.

Vadim Kuramshin was arrested right after coming back from an OSCE conference in Warsaw in September 2012, during which he presented a speech denouncing human rights abuses in Kazakhstan. On 31 October 2012, the appeals panel of Zhambyl court annulled the previous jury verdict due to alleged 'significant procedural violations' during the earlier court sessions.

Vadim Kuramshin was re-arrested on 31 October 2012 in the city of Petropavlovsk, northern Kazakhstan. He was reportedly beaten during the arrest and while in detention in the detention facility in Petropavlovsk. Protesting against harassment and threats received in pre-trial detention, including threats of sexual violence, Vadim Kuramshin cut his veins. He was consequently placed in solitary confinement due to “violation of the conditions of his detention”. On 3 November 2012, he was transported from Petropavlovsk to the detention facility in Taraz.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison on December 7, 2012 on charges of blackmailing the assistant of the district attorney. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Taraz on 14th February 2013. In addition to the court ordered the confiscation of his property. This trial has been widely reported as not conforming with international standards.

In March 2013, Vadim Kuramshin was transferred to prison colony EC 164/4, a prison infamous for human rights violations, which increases fears for his safety.

Prize will be officially presented on December 5th, 2013 in Paris.