“Protests that are not in line with government policies generally are not given permission to go ahead, so they are seen as unsanctioned and there are consequences for those who participate in them,” Ms. Rittmann said.
Meanwhile, on the streets of Almaty, many view the allegations being made at the trial as predictable.
“I am not surprised, as I believe torture is still used by police here,” said Dinara Ibrayeva, a student in Almaty. “The government must check it, and if it is confirmed, law enforcement bodies must be punished. As for defendants, I can’t tell whether or not they are guilty. Let’s hope for [a] fair trial.”
• Edda Schlager in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Ruby Russell in Berlin contributed to this report.
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