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Tokayev reassures Kazakhs detained activist died of heart failure

On 25 February, civil activist Dulat Agadil passed away due to heart failure while in detention in Nur-Sultan, representatives of Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry said. “Agadil had been detained due to suspected violations of the terms of his house arrest, which he had been placed under following charges of contempt of court earlier this year,” the office of Nur-Sultan’s general prosecutor said.

On 26 February, independent experts have identified the cause of death of Agadil, the Interior Ministry and the office of the general prosecutor said in the statement. On 26 February, at the request of the lawyer of the family of the deceased activist with the participation of invited private forensic experts, a study of the body of Agadil was carried out, the statement read. “Experts have found that the cause of Dulat Agadil’s death is acute cardiovascular failure. No bodily injuries characteristic of violence have been found. The experts involved, as well as the brother and lawyer of the deceased, did not state any comments and petitions,” the statement read.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who personally reviewed the case, said: “I can fully assure people that, unfortunately, the activist Agadil passed away as a result of heart failure. To make any claims counter to this is to go against the truth,” Tokayev said. “No matter what his views, he was primarily a human being,” he added.

Since inauguration, Tokayev has been positioning Kazakhstan as the ‘hearing state’. The President has announced a series of domestic, social, economic and political policies aimed at improving the quality of life for citizens of Kazakhstan. In particular, the National Council of Public Trust have been established as platforms in which wider society can discuss different views and strengthen the national conversation regarding government policies and reforms.

In an effort to increase public safety, Tokayev has strengthened the penalties for those who commit serious crimes, including sexual violence, drug trafficking, human trafficking, driving vehicles after drinking all types of alcohol, poaching, violence towards park rangers, domestic violence against women and serious crimes against individuals, especially children.

The sudden death of Agadil, who was a participant in many anti-government protests, sparked speculation among his supporters that the authorities of Kazakhstan were allegedly behind the death of the activist. But Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry dismissed the speculation, reiterating that Agadil died of natural causes. “The civil activist Dulat Agadil who died in the pre-trial detention center was not injured,” Sanzhar Adilov, the head of the investigation department of the Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs, told reporters.

He explained that now they are actively discussing in social networks whether the deceased man had bruises and injuries on his body, but forensic experts confirmed their absence. “Yesterday, in the presence of forensic experts, the prosecutor immediately examined the body. An initial external examination showed that there were no visible bodily injuries. Yesterday, forensic experts gave a preliminary conclusion – death occurred as a result of sudden cardiac arrest, acute cardiovascular failure,” said the head of the investigation department and added that the full conclusion of the forensic medical examination will be no less than in a month.

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