The political prisoner, Vladimir Kozlov, who since 2012 has been serving a prison sentence of 7 years and 6 months, has written about the Kazakh prison system. In the oppositionist's opinion, persecution for political views has become commonplace in the country. This does not end with sentencing though. The defiant ones are persecuted all the time: in prison too. Opponents of the regime are not to be set free, ever, Kozlov claims.
In the view of the Alga! Party leader, people sentenced for political views are discriminated against in Kazakh prisons. Kozlov relies on his own experience of more than three years in detention. Recently, on 5th February 2015, his application for a transfer to a colony with a less harsh regime was rejected once again. Successive commissions explained their denials, inter alia, with the supposed threat posed by Kozlov to co-prisoners. The New Penal Executive Code (УИК) has bestowed upon the colony's administration new powers which will further facilitate the issuance of similar decisions. The old code placed a condition on the consent to transfer on the prisoner having no admonitions on his record. The new code includes an additional provision on newly introduced requirements.
Since Kozlov has been in the colony in Zarekhnoye, transferred from Petropavlovsk in northern Kazakhstan, the prison library has been enriched with more than 350 books. The books are sent to Kozlov by his friends and he donates them to the prison's collection. The oppositionist also engaged in the organisation of a chess tournament and joined the prison school. He put forward an initiative to set up a cultural centre in the prison and was amongst the first to voluntarily join the organisation of prisoners in the colony. However, as Kozlov writes, the authorities do not seem to take any notice of this. Consequently, his application for a transfer was again rejected.
And even though discrimination against those considered politically incorrect by the regime is contrary to the law, it is, in fact, one of the instruments used to combat representatives of the opposition, Kozlov concluded.