Police officers in Kazakhstan have arrested an Instagram influencer who posts satirical posts to mock the government. The Kazakhstan government continues to intensify its crack down on political opponents and dissidents.
According to a report on RadioFreeEurope, the police detained Temirlan Ensebek, searched his home, and seized his equipment on May 15. Ensebek is a Kazakh Instagram blogger, popular for his satirical posts critical of the authoritarian government. He is also a member of Oyan, Qazaqstan (Wake Up, Kazakhstan!), a Kazakhstan-based political reform group.
According to his wife, Ensebek could be charged with intentionally spreading “misinformation” that jeopardizes public order. She was not sure which of his posts led to the arrest as all posts on his Instagram page have been deleted.
In one post, Ensebek claimed that the Interior Ministry was working on a law that would see Kazakhs limited to only one visit abroad per year. In another post, he joked that Islamic leaders in the central asian nation had proposed elevating former President Nursultan Nazarbaev to the status of a god, and even incorporating it to the constitution. Already the country changed its capital to Nur-Sultan in honor of the former president.
Under the new president, Qasym-Zhomart Toaqev, who had the support of Nursultan, independent journalism is still under threat. In the past year alone, dozens of bloggers and journalists have been charged with crimes, such as inciting the public and spreading “falsehoods.”