Kazakh Activist In Psychiatric Clinic After ‘Attempting Suicide’ During Military Service

NUR-SULTAN — A Kazakh civil right activist who was drafted into the army ahead of last year’s presidential election has been placed in a psychiatric clinic after he attempted to commit suicide, his mother says.

Alimzhan Izbasarov, 24, tried to kill himself after being a victim of hazing and pressure by officers and other conscripts over his activism, his mother wrote on Facebook on April 13.

After that, he was placed in a psychiatric clinic in the southern city of Taraz, Zhaukhaz Izbasarova said.

The clinic’s deputy chief physician, Gulmira Karimova, told RFE/RL that Izbasarov was brought to the facility on April 5 and was currently being treated for psychiatric reasons.

Karimova did not say when Izbasarov, whose military service is expected to end in June, will be discharged from the clinic.

Damir Qasymov, a commander at the military unit in Taraz where Izbasarov was serving, said the activist was being “treated by medical personnel.” He refused to provide further details.

Izbasarov was one of many young activists who were abruptly drafted into the army amid mass protests in April-May 2019 against the early presidential election that followed the sudden resignation of first Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, a close ally of Nazarbaev, easily won the June 9 vote.

Izbasarov received his conscription notification after completing a 15-day jail sentence on charges of taking part in an unsanctioned May 1 rally in the capital, Nur-Sultan.

At the time, the activist said that he most likely was drafted because government officials wanted “to make sure that active youth are not around” as the country was getting ready for the presidential poll.

Under Kazakh law, all men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to serve one year in the armed forces. However, there are many exemptions, including for higher education and health reasons.

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