Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 14:57 GMT

Kyrgyzstan: Open Letter to the authorities: Deep concern following the interrogation of two human rights defenders

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 30 June 2010
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Kyrgyzstan: Open Letter to the authorities: Deep concern following the interrogation of two human rights defenders, 30 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c56acc523.html [accessed 28 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Mr. Marat Alymbekov
Prosecutor of Osh oblast

cc. Ms. Roza Otunbaeva
President of the Interim Government of Kyrgyzstan

Mr. Tursunbek Akun
Ombudsman

Paris-Geneva, June 30, 2010

Re: Deep concern following the interrogation of two human rights defenders

Dear Sir,

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), wishes to share its concern following the interrogation faced by human rights defenders Ms. Tolekan Ismailova, Director of the organisation Citizens Against Corruption (CAC), and Ms. Aziza Abdirasulova, Director of the Centre for Human Rights "Kylym Shami".

On June 28, 2010, Ms. Ismailova and Ms. Abdirasulova were summoned for interrogation at the Osh oblast Prosecutor's Office as witnesses in criminal case No. 152-1079 opened on June 12, 2010 related to the violation of Article 233 of the Criminal Code on "mass disorders" and Article 97 on "murder". The two human rights defenders were interrogated separately for one hour and a half each, in the presence of their lawyer. Among other issues, they were interrogated on information published by the website www.24.kz, which mentioned that 20 persons had been killed instead of two during military operations in Nariman village of Karasuu district on June 21, 2010. The information referred to Ms. Ismailova and Ms. Abdirasulova as its sources and Ms. Ismailova subsequently made a disclaimer as soon as she learnt that the figures mentioned were wrong and the information was corrected on the same day, on the demand from Ms. Ismailova and Ms. Abdirasulova. They were mainly interrogated on their contacts and how the information was collected.

The Observatory is particularly concerned for the safety of human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan in the context of the political instability linked to the change of power in April 2010 and hostilities between Kyrgyz and Uzbek that broke out on June 10, 2010 in southern Kyrgyzstan. In that context, it recalls that Mr. Azimjan Askarov, a prominent human rights defender and Director of the human rights organisation "Vozdukh" (Air) based in the city of Bazar Korgon, in the Jalalabad region of Kyrgyzstan, was arrested on the evening of June 15, 2010 by agents of Bazar Korgon police department for being allegedly involved in said ethnic hostilities and remains reportedly detained at the Bazar Korgon police station, where he would be subjected to ill-treatments. To date, he has reportedly not been informed of the charges held against him[1]. Like Ms. Ismailova and Ms. Abdirasulova, Mr. Askarov was monitoring the human rights violations committed during the clashes.

For these reasons, the Observatory calls on the competent authorities in Kyrgyzstan to take all the measure necessary to ensure that human rights defenders – including Ms. Tolekan Ismailova and Ms. Aziza Abdirasulova – may carry out their work for the promotion and protection of human rights without any hindrances and recalls that as a Participating State of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Kyrgyzstan acknowledges that "the [...] UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders [... places] a responsibility [...] on states to adopt and implement adequate legislation and administrative procedures that would provide for a conducive environment for human rights defenders to promote and strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", and recognises "the need for particular attention, support and protection for human rights defenders by the OSCE, its Institutions and field operations, as well as by participating States"[2].

More generally, the Observatory calls upon the Kyrgyz authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan and to put an end to all acts of harassment against them, in accordance with international and regional human rights standards, in particular the 1998 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

The Observatory kindly urges you to act expeditiously in the framework of your respective mandates with regards to this situation and we express our sincere hope that you will be able to act expeditiously with regards to this situation.

Yours sincerely,

Souhayr BELHASSEN Eric SOTTAS
President of FIDH Secretary General of OMCT

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