Joint letter urging Kyrgyzstan to ensure Azimjon Askarov’s right to a fair trial

Ahead of the 25 February review by Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court of the appeal filed by Azimjon Askarov, Civil Rights Defenders, The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and The International Federation for Human Rights call on Chairperson of Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court, Gulbara Kaliyeva, to ensure that the imprisoned human rights defender receives a fair trial and that his verdict demonstrates Kyrgyzstan’s respect for international law.

Askarov, who turns 69 in May, was sentenced to life in jail in September 2010 on a series of charges, including incitement to ethnic hatred, hostage taking, and participation in the killing of a local police officer all of which took place during the June 2010 ethnic conflict. Although his trial was marred with numerous violations, including allegations of Askarov’s torture, attacks on his lawyers in the courtroom, and lack of evidence, Kyrgyzstan’s courts have consistently denied his appeals.

Kyrgyzstan should immediately release our colleague Askarov

Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee

On behalf of our imprisoned colleague Azimjon Askarov and the international human rights community, we ask Madame Chair to ensure that the Supreme Justices demonstrate that rule of law and justice exist in Kyrgyzstan, and that the nation is a trustworthy and equal partner for the international community.

We ask Madame Chair to free Askarov and quash his conviction in accordance with the UN Human Rights Committee’s ruling.

“Azimjon Askarov’s case is merely one manifestation of Kyrgyzstan’s backsliding on human rights in recent years, a worrying trend including an ongoing crackdown on peaceful activists and a steadily shrinking civic space, showing the international community that Kyrgyzstan is no longer an “island of democracy”, but an authoritarian state. However, it is not too late to reverse this, Kyrgyzstan should start by immediately releasing our colleague Askarov”, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Read the statement in full here.



Marius Fossum

Representative in Central AsiaEmail: [email protected]Phone: +7-771-506-4955Twitter: @Marius_Fossum
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