(Bishkek, March 20, 2023)- twenty two Citizen activists, bloggers, journalists, and politicians who disagree with the government on the border issue and are currently in pre-trial facilities in Kyrgyzstan should be immediately released and their due process rights upheld, Human Rights Watch said today should go.
were captive in the beginning Arrested for 48 hours on October 23, 2022, accused of inciting “mass unrest” after disagreeing with the transfer to Uzbekistan of jurisdiction over Kempir-Abad, a key dam, as part of a border demarcation deal Went. He has spent nearly five months behind bars in facilities unsuitable for long-term detention, even though international law provides that pretrial detention should be used only as an exception, and for as short a time as possible. .
“These citizens, who were exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, should not have been placed in preliminary detention much less still,” it said. sayanat sultanalieva, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They should be released immediately, and if at the end of an effective investigation there is credible evidence that they have committed a criminal offence, a fair trial is guaranteed.”
In January and February 2023, Three The detainees, an original group of 25, were transferred to house arrest due to their deteriorating health. Bishkek district court on February 17 extended Pre-trial custody of remaining 22 activists till 20 April.
All detainees were charged with the preparation and organization mass unrest on the basis of evidence obtained from a particular Investigationwhich appears to be a series Edited and excerpted wiretapped conversations between some of the detainees. The audio-montage was apparently made to show some of the detainees calling for the overthrow of the government because of the controversial border agreement. But 18 January, all of his criminal cases were classified as “secret”, making independent monitoring impossible. Detainees face 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted.
since October, the courtsOn three occasions, has extended his pre-trial detention for two months – the maximum allowed for such detention under Kyrgyzstan code of criminal procedure, Courts accepted prosecutors’ claim that continued detention was necessary because of expert evaluation of evidence obtained during warrantless search The seizure of activists’ homes and their personal property, including electronic equipment, was not over. There has been no concrete progress in the criminal investigation.
Human Rights Watch stated that the “Kempir-Abad case”, as it has come to be known, is riddled with procedural violations inconsistent with the country’s international human rights obligations. It also showed the officers’ lack of humanity towards detainees who had existing health conditions or developed them due to substandard conditions in detention facilities. prisoners not allowed seizure by their relatives, including children, who have only been able to catch a glimpse of them through bars During three court hearings on his detention extension.
Conditions in a pre-trial detention facility are Allegedly Worse than regular prisons, as the facility is not intended for long stays. According to Facebook of March 21 Post Hosted by a daughter of a detained human rights defender, Rita Karsartova, detainees are allowed only 40 minutes to walk in a five-by-six-metre room with metal bars for a ceiling. But 14 December, 19 prisonersincluding four women are on hunger strike for two weeks to protest the conditions of detention, leaving him in a weak and vulnerable state, his lawyers Said,
The health of many detainees has deteriorated rapidly during detention, including a former constitutional court judge, Klara Soronkulova, who was shifted to the hospital for surgery on 20 February. But March 14Despite not completing rehabilitation, he was required to return to a pre-trial detention facility,
But March 17Relatives of the prisoners staged a protest under the slogan “for justice and freedom” demanding their release, among other demands. been there several Other Protest relatives of detainees in the months following their detention, with protests in January captivity Of the 27 relatives, all of whom were released on the same day.
Both National And international The organizations have expressed concern about the lack of concrete progress in the investigation and the lack of accountability for procedural violations continuing in the case. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement 26 October reminding Kyrgyz authorities that detainees in the “Kempir-Abad case” should be presumed innocent and that pre-trial detention should be an exception in line with international human rights norms and standards.
united nations human rights committee classifies Detention as punishment for the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, association and assembly, protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Kyrgyzstan is a party, is arbitrary and imprecise.
Kyrgyzstan’s international partners should urge the Kyrgyz authorities to release wrongfully detained activists and guarantee a fair trial.
“The ‘Kempir-Abad affair’ is a litmus test for the humanity and fitness of the Kyrgyz authorities to remain a respected participant in the global community of states,” Sultanalieva said. “They must uphold their international human rights obligations and immediately release all detained persons, ensure the effective and timely completion of investigations in each of their cases, and provide justice for those wrongfully detained.” redress and compensation should be provided.”