Amnesty International (AI) says torture and other ill-treatment by members of Kazakhstan's law enforcement bodies and prison authorities remain "largely unchecked and unpunished."
In a briefing submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee and made public on June 17, the London-based group says investigations over torture and ill-treatment allegations "for the most part are perfunctory, marred by what are often shared interests between police and prosecutors, and a default position that the victim is not telling the truth."
The document says lawyers working on cases of torture or other ill-treatment have on occasion faced "obstruction, intimidation, and harassment."
It says restrictions on freedom of expression include "attempts to silence or close down critical voices in the media, with the closure of independent news sites and publications on national security or administrative grounds, as well as prosecutions targeting individual journalists and editors."
Freedom of peaceful assembly remains "heavily restricted," with administrative penalties and criminal penalties in place for violating the strict rules on holding assemblies, AI says.
Authorities have also used administrative detention to stop peaceful protests from going ahead, most recently to stop demonstrators joining rallies against unpopular land reforms.