EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Defender Sentenced To Life After Being Tortured

Posted by Info on 14/11/2010

Askarov appeal denied; health deteriorating from beatings

Kyrgyzstan’s authorities should ensure full compliance with fair trial standards in the case of human rights defender Azimjan Askarov and other trials related to the June violence in the south of the country.
Askarov, who has worked with ODIHR on detention monitoring projects in southern Kyrgyzstan in the past, is the head of the non-governmental human rights organization “Vozdukh”.
Local sources believe Askarov was jailed in retaliation for his reporting on detainee torture by Jalal-Abad police in Vozdukh’s monthly bulletin and on the independent regional news website Voice of Freedom.

An appeals court upheld the 15 September verdict of a lower court, which sentenced Askarov to life imprisonment and confiscation of his property on charges of organizing mass disorder and inciting inter-ethnic hatred.

Askarov appearedat the last hearing, and was due to be transferred today to a prison hospital for emergency treatment. A local activist Ms Gritsenko, who observed the trial said: Askarov’s health was so grave that he “may die if he isn’t transferred to the hospital.”

ODIHR monitors at the first instance trial and appeal proceedings noted that the authorities failed to make adequate efforts to address repeated instances of verbal abuse, including death threats, directed at the lawyers and the defendant, as well as an instance of physical attack against one of the lawyers. Monitors also found that the judge failed to follow-up on allegations of torture made during the appeal proceedings.

ODEHR called for a full investigation of allegations of torture and said irregularities had to be addressed to ensure a fair trial for Askarov and the other defendants.

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