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Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Kyrgyzstan continue to be subjected to harassment, restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association, prosecution, interrogation, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture. Family members of human rights defenders also face threats, harassment and persecution. The authorities systematically fail to investigate these incidents and to bring those responsible to justice. In several cases, perpetrators operate with the complicity of law enforcement agents.
The judiciary is not independent. The malfunctioning of the judicial system is aggravated by high level of corruption. Serious and systematic violations of fair trial guarantees persist, and affect HRDs facing charges. The use of torture in prison and especially in pre-trial detention facilities remains widespread. Following his visit in December 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture stated that 'almost all detainees interviewed indicated that they had been subjected to mistreatment or beating since the time of apprehension and delivery to the temporary detention facility for the purpose of extracting a confession. (...). The use of torture by the criminal investigation police is exacerbated by the heavy reliance on confessions in the judicial system'. A number of HRDs who have been detained also reported being subjected to torture.
In connection to the ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek groups that occurred in the southern part of the country in 2010, there was a significant increase in the use of arbitrary arrest and detention, forced confession under the use of torture, denial of access to a lawyer, threats and extortion of money in exchange for dropping or mitigating charges. The lack of a serious investigation into the clashes affected human rights defenders. A prominent HRD, Azimjan Askarov, subject of a Front Line Defenders campaign, was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection to the clashes at the end of a politically motivated trial. Those who continued to assist people of Uzbek origin were depicted as unpatriotic, intimidated and physically attacked. In numerous cases, human rights lawyers were intimidated and targeted even inside courtrooms.
In 2011, several journalists were physically or verbally attacked. “Insult” and “insult of a public official” remain criminal offences, despite the decriminalisation of libel. The defenders of LGBTI rights also continued to face the threats, attacks, intimidations and smear campaigns and, as a result, are unable to operate openly.
19 September 2013
16 September 2013
04 December 2012
01 March 2012
20 December 2011
Kyrgyzstan: Threats against organisers of human rights film festival over documentary on human rights defender Mr Azimjan Askarov
Kyrgyzstan: Draft bill on non-governmental organisations acting as 'foreign agents' introduced for public discussion at Parliament
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