Kazakhstan: Disgruntled Former Cops Appeal to Sting
British rock star Sting didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he cancelled a concert in Astana earlier this month in protest at Kazakhstan's treatment of striking energy-sector workers.Now, two disgruntled former cops who were fired for breaches of discipline have written to the former Police frontman asking him to intervene in their case, Tengri News reports. Galiya Mukhambetova and Kumisbek Kanymbayev were fired from the police department in the western city of Aktobe last year, accused of involvement in the disappearance of top-secret case materials. They now face charges, which they deny, over the disappearance of the documents – which later turned up.In a bid to clear their names and win reinstatement, the ex-officers have turned to Sting to answer their prayers. “I’m sure Sting will investigate our problem, and then the Kazakh authorities will pay attention to us,” Mukhambetova said.She may be investing too much hope in the powers of the legendary rock star: His concert cancellation has so far done nothing to help the striking energy workers in western Kazakhstan.Their industrial action over salaries and trade union rights has just entered its third month, and state oil and gas company KazMunayGaz is adamant that it won’t bow to their demands. The company says the strike is illegal – a position backed by the courts – and has already fired hundreds of workers. Natalya Sokolova, a lawyer advising the strikers, is in detention facing charges of inciting social enmity, which carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence.So Sting’s intervention may have sparked international headlines, but it’s done nothing to solve the standoff. Perhaps that explains the scathing reaction of the Aktobe police department to the news that its former officers are enlisting his help.“This is a shame and a disgrace! Is every sacked employee now going to write letters to Sting and Michael Jackson now?” mocked police department press secretary Almat Imangaliyev.