Annual Prison Census 2010 - Kyrgyzstan
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||8 December 2010|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2010 - Kyrgyzstan, 8 December 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4d4977e41e.html [accessed 23 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2010
Ulugbek Abdusalomov, Diydor
Imprisoned: June 14, 2010
Authorities in the southern Jalal-Abad region arrested Abdusalomov, editor of the independent weekly Diydor, following interethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan. According to CPJ sources and press reports, men in camouflage-style uniforms, driving a black SUV without license plates, blocked Abdusalomov's car on a Jalal-Abad street. Subsequent press reports said he was being held by Jalal-Abad regional police.
On June 23, the press office of the central Kyrgyz government said in a statement that Abdusalomov was being held in connection with May 12-15 protests by ethnic Uzbeks in the city of Jalal-Abad. Uzbek residents rallied against the possible return to office of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Overthrown in April following mass protests, Bakiyev had found temporary refuge in Jalal-Abad before ultimately fleeing to Belarus, according to local press reports. The May rallies sparked a violent retaliation by ethnic Kyrgyz residents, who largely supported Bakiyev.
In August, regional prosecutors indicted Abdusalomov on charges of organizing and participating in mass disorder and making calls for separatism in connection with the protests. A charge of inciting ethnic hatred stemmed from an article published in Diydor that quoted local residents complaining about inequities in southern Kyrgyzstan. The indictment came as the editor was in police custody at a regional hospital undergoing treatment for a heart condition, the independent regional news website Ferghana reported.
Official records cast doubt on the allegations. At the time of the protests, Abdusalomov was in Bishkek working on the text of the new Kyrgyz Constitution as a member of a government committee, official transcripts show. In September, CPJ urged President Roza Otunbayeva to intervene in the politicized prosecution.
The London-based Writers in Prison Committee said that while Abdusalomov was hospitalized in September he suffered a stroke that affected one side of his body and his speech. He was put under house arrest late that month. Trial proceedings, originally scheduled for September, were postponed because of Abdusalomov's health problems, local press reports said. Defense lawyer Bektursun Kalmanov told CPJ that Abdusalomov remained under house arrest in late year.
Azimjon Askarov, freelance
Imprisoned: June 15, 2010
Authorities in the southern Jalal-Abad region arrested Askarov, a contributor to the independent news website Voice of Freedom and director of the local human rights group Vozdukh (Air), after a violent confrontation between police and villagers in Bazar-Korgon. One police officer was killed in the conflict.
The episode took place amid deadly ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek residents, which engulfed all of southern Kyrgyzstan in June. The clashes left hundreds dead, and forced up to a half million people to flee their homes. According to press reports and CPJ sources, Askarov was reporting on violence, destruction, looting, and human rights abuses in Bazar-Korgon at the time.
Authorities initially charged Askarov, 60, with organizing violent riots, but two months later expanded his indictment to include complicity to murder of a police officer, possession of ammunition and extremist literature, and attempted kidnapping, the independent regional news website Ferghana reported. Askarov denied the charges, and said he had not been present at the scene.
Before his arrest, Askarov had reported allegations that regional police had abused detainees and had failed to take appropriate action in response to the ethnic clashes, according to press reports and CPJ sources.
Askarov, held by the same department whose officer was killed in Bazar-Korgon, was beaten by police while in custody, defense lawyer Nurbek Toktakunov told CPJ. Toktakunov said he was himself attacked by relatives of the deceased officer.
On September 15, Judge Nurgazy Alimbayev pronounced Askarov guilty on all charges and sentenced him to life in prison. Toktakunov said the prosecution had failed to produce any evidence or eyewitness testimony at trial that implicated Askarov.