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Front Line's Deputy Director Andrew Anderson is currently on mission in Kyrgyzstan where he had been given permission to visit imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov. Azimjan is serving a life sentence after an unfair trial during which he was routinely beaten and denied access to his lawyer.
Azimjan Askarov - a brave man in a cruel imprisonment
"We had the great privilege of meeting Azimjan Askarov in prison colony 47 today in Bishkek.
The prison is actually supposed to be a prison hospital although that is not immediately obvious as we arrive at the entrance and shiver in the icy cold whilst our permissions and presents are processed and checked. Its very much a Soviet era institution, apparently the x-ray machine is a genuine antique, but we are ushered across a frozen courtyard and up to the Prison Director's office to meet Azimjan.
We receive a warm welcome from Azimjan who is looking much better than he did at his appeal hearing. He insists he is feeling much better too, and is being treated well here in Bishkek.
Front Line's Deputy Director Andrew Anderson is currently on mission in Kyrgyzstan - however the adventures started in the air as they successfully landed in Bishek - on the 4th attempt.
Good old hammer and sickle!
I was not sure if the hammer and sickle on the uniform of the Aeroflot woman at the check in for my flight from Moscow to Bishkek meant the uniform was twenty years old or they just had resisted corporate rebranding.
Our first two attempts to land in Bishkek the pilot had to pull out because of below minimum visability. So he announced we were diverting to Almaty. but he had to pull out of an attempted landing there too. Apparently whilst I was wondering how much extra fuel our plane might carry the weather cleared over Bishkek. We bumped down fourth time lucky. Good old hammer and sickle.
Pictured - Andrew Anderson with human rights defender Tolekan Ismailova outside Bishek prison.