20 august 2017

Central Asia news

Kazakhstan trials the Orthodox priest

Kazakhstan trials the Orthodox priest

15.08.2017 23:28 msk Human Rights Religious life Kazakhstan Russia

For the first time, the priest of the Orthodox parish is in the court charged with the violation of the law “On Religious Activities and Religious Associations.” In the village of Merke (Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan) on 14 August, Vladimir Vorontsov, the rector of the parish of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God Church, stood the first trial. An anonymous tip-off reported police that he, along with children from the Orthodox group of the weekend (Sunday school) and several parents conducted prayer meetings in the mountains.

Is Uzbekistan opening? Tashkent will host OSCE Central Asia media conference

Is Uzbekistan opening? Tashkent will host OSCE Central Asia media conference

14.07.2017 22:21 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The 19th Central Asia media conference named “Open Journalism in Central Asia” organised by the office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media will be held in Tashkent on 18-19 October 2017. It is expected that participants, “including journalists, representatives from governments, civil society organisations and academia from Central Asia and Mongolia along with international experts will discuss current challenges to media freedom in Central Asia and Mongolia” including “current trends in news media distribution and challenges related to the digital and increasingly mobile environment, and how to better safeguard media freedom whilst combatting hate speech,” as well as “the latest media freedom developments and best practices,” the OSCE website informs.

Apotheosis of Kyrgyz justice

Apotheosis of Kyrgyz justice

04.07.2017 10:55 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

The President of Kyrgyzstan once again celebrates his victory. Almazbek Atambayev could manage to outdo his predecessors in his state post: he practically neutralised the opposition, divided civil and journalistic society, squeezed out dissenters from the country, he simply slandered the most “stubborn” media and human rights activists.

Dictator’s relatives. Nephew of late Islam Karimov granted refugee status in Ukraine escaping extradition to Uzbekistan

Dictator’s relatives. Nephew of late Islam Karimov granted refugee status in Ukraine escaping extradition to Uzbekistan

30.06.2017 15:51 msk Human Rights Politics Migration Russia Uzbekistan

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine denied the extradition request of Akbar Abdullaev by Uzbekistan, where he is accused of a number of economic crimes, his lawyer Oliver Wallash informed Fergana about it on 27 June. Akbar Abdullaev, 34, the son of Tamara Sobirova, the sister of the former first lady of Uzbekistan Tatyana Karimova, had already conviction in the past. “The extradition was denied for the reason of refugee status granted,” Oliver Wallash said in a telephone interview.

Human Rights Defenders: World Bank should press Uzbekistan for abandoning cotton slavery

Human Rights Defenders: World Bank should press Uzbekistan for abandoning cotton slavery

29.06.2017 15:18 msk Human Rights Business Cotton Uzbekistan

If you google “modern cotton slavery” phrase you would immediately understand what a country will be discussed. These words are tightly connected with Uzbekistan. Although, how much tightly? With the change of the head of state, the population of this country and civil society has had a weak hope of getting rid of the long-term cotton slavery. And while in autumn 2016 the situation in the cotton industry has not changed much, but human rights activists do not give up hope. Again and again, they try to draw the attention of the world community as a whole and of the World Bank which pursues its interests in this country, in particular, to this one of the major problems of Uzbekistan.

Bluff or ‘ram fighting’ from Arkadag? Anti-corruption fight gaining momentum in Turkmenistan

Bluff or ‘ram fighting’ from Arkadag? Anti-corruption fight gaining momentum in Turkmenistan

15.06.2017 19:28 msk Human Rights Politics Turkmenistan

A modern history of independent and neutral Turkmenistan has fixed a tradition: if the government does not succeed, for example, the treasury becomes empty and there is nothing to pay many months of salary debts to civil servants, or the intimidated people are on the verge of displeasure, the power impersonated by the president is frantically looking for scapegoats.

Education in Uzbek language has no prospects in Kyrgyzstan

Education in Uzbek language has no prospects in Kyrgyzstan

13.06.2017 06:37 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

The second largest ethnic group in Kyrgyzstan is Uzbek: according to statistical data of 2015, there are about 900 thousand people, which is almost 15% of the total number of residents. At the same time, there is no opportunity for Uzbek youth to get a high-quality secondary education and even less a higher education.

Uzbekistan: Unprecedented public outcry at murder of 18-years-old student

Uzbekistan: Unprecedented public outcry at murder of 18-years-old student

05.06.2017 10:53 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

On 4 June at 12 am in Tashkent, an impromptu public action was held at the entrance to Bobur Park in Tashkent to collect signatures under the petition demanding “To punish those guilty of the death of Ibragimov Jasurbek” - a student of the Tashkent medical college brutally beaten in early May and died a month later in hospital after series of operations. Days before this action the letter of Jasurbek's mother's has been shared in the social networks telling that the names of the alleged killers of her son are known to everyone, however nobody has been brought to justice so far. Moreover, she said the Borovsky Tashkent Medical College management and staff, where Jasurbek studied, cover young criminals in collusion with their parents.

‘Our authorities never mistake?’ Practice of protection of persons accused of extremism

‘Our authorities never mistake?’ Practice of protection of persons accused of extremism

01.06.2017 12:31 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Kyrgyzstan

For the past seven years, the number of convicts for extremism and terrorism in Kyrgyzstan has tripled. In 2009, according to the State Penitentiary Service (SSC), 51 people were convicted for such crimes, whereas today 185 people including 7 women are serving their sentences. Among this category of prisoners 22 people are accused of fighting in Syria, 97 - membership in Hizb-ut-Tahrir, 84 - committed their crimes for the first time. 38 people are kept in high security prisons. Who are these persons? How did they end up in the dock?

Kyrgyzstan major TV channel: Block Fergana and journalist Ulugbek Babakulov is enemy of people

Kyrgyzstan major TV channel: Block Fergana and journalist Ulugbek Babakulov is enemy of people

29.05.2017 16:21 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan Russia

In the evening on 27 May 2017 the major television channel of Kyrgyzstan aired an 8-minute report with the speaking name ‘Instigators,’ in which the Bishkek journalist Ulugbek Babakulov was accused of inciting ethnic hatred, and the website of the Fergana News Agency was called ‘biased’ and called to be blocked on the territory of the republic. The reason for the report was an article about nationalistic statements in social networks published by Fergana on 23 May this year. Reporters believe that Fergana ‘disseminates provocative materials,’ trying to present Kyrgyzstan ‘a fascist state, whose population is completely nationalistic.’ The news story of the Public Television and Radio Company (OTRK) contains some fragments of this article, and suggestions of calling to a ‘severe criminal liability,’ as well as comments by ‘experts.’ In their opinion, journalists need ‘to jam the critical moments,’ and not ‘to drag out some sort of analysis of the social networks.’

Who owns media in Kazakhstan?

Who owns media in Kazakhstan?

16.05.2017 21:58 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Media Review Internet Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, most of the media owners are hiding behind their formal founders. But, as they say, if the secret is known to three – then everyone knows this. Having talked with experts Fergana News Agency made its own list of the true owners of the Kazakh media.

Uzbekistan: Activists pay tribute to Andijan massacre victims in Tashkent

Uzbekistan: Activists pay tribute to Andijan massacre victims in Tashkent

15.05.2017 16:58 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Religious life Uzbekistan

Activists of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU) held a traditional action in the centre of Tashkent at the foot of the ‘Courage’ monument on 13 May to commemorate the hundreds of peaceful Andijan residents, who died during the shooting of the rally 12 years ago. To the surprise of the participants, this time the event passed without any interference by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Service (SNB).

 Uzbekistan: How visit by UN High Commissioner benefits?

Uzbekistan: How visit by UN High Commissioner benefits?

15.05.2017 08:49 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has been in Uzbekistan since 10 until 12 May 2017. Human rights defenders and civil society activists both at home and abroad were eagerly awaiting this important event. It was the first trip of the UN official to this country and to Central Asia in general. And it should be noted that none of its six predecessors visited Uzbekistan at this high international level before.

About imprisoned human rights activists and unsound optimism in Uzbekistan

About imprisoned human rights activists and unsound optimism in Uzbekistan

11.05.2017 13:59 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

This year in March, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan) upheld the sentence on extending the term of imprisonment to five years for 39-year-old human rights activist Azam Farmonov. Azam Farmonov has been confined in Jaslyk prison for eleven years (since June 2006), which the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Theo van Boven back in 2002 recommended to close it down because of its location in an ecologically impoverished zone. At a time of unsound optimism about Uzbekistan, and when the new president has begun to talk about the problems accumulated in the country winning universal love, I wish to recall about people who had not been afraid to criticise power at the time of the Karimov swamp, and who still remain in custody.

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

10.05.2017 21:23 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Russia Tajikistan

The anti-government forces took control of the Qalay-I-Zal district of the Afghan province of Kunduz, located on the border with Tajikistan, world media reported on 7 May. Heavy battles that began shortly after the Taliban had announced the ‘spring offensive’ are going on in the Zebak district, as well as in the vicinity of the city of Kunduz, which may soon again be in the hands of the armed opposition. As we have already reported, a state of emergency had been declared in the Ishkashim district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of the Republic of Tajikistan bordering with fighting scenes across the Panj River. Local residents are alarmed and frightened by the fact that Afghan militants have come close to the Tajik border. Moreover, it is not entirely clear who they are and what their goals are. According to the ‘Fergana’ source in one of the international organisations, among the militants fighting ‘beyond the river’ are also refugees from Tajikistan, who moved there because of persecution by the authorities. A number is known too: they can make from 200 up to 250 people.

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