22 february 2017

Central Asia news

Uzbekistan: Whistleblower Businessman Ends Up Behind Bars

Uzbekistan: Whistleblower Businessman Ends Up Behind Bars

16.02.2017 22:32 msk Human Rights Business Uzbekistan

Things are going from bad to worse for Uzbekistan’s anticorruption whistleblower with a court ordering his confinement to a pretrial detention facility pending criminal hearings into corruption. Olim Sulaimanov, who came to prominence last year after posting a video online alleging he had been harassed for bribes by tax officials, appeared in Mirzo Ulugbek district court in Tashkent on February 15 following a surprise summons from investigators earlier this month.

Uzbekistan: Mahalla—why does the president and society need it?

Uzbekistan: Mahalla—why does the president and society need it?

13.02.2017 00:02 msk Human Rights Business Politics Uzbekistan

The latest decree the Uzbek head of state directs the society toward “improving the place and role of self-governance by citizens in society, turn them into local bodies engaged in providing realistic assistance and cooperation to the people.” the decree also provides for renovating mahalla committee buildings and paying pension benefits to the committee leaderships in full and in a timely manner. The national council for coordinating mahallas is now granted the status of a legal entity in the form of an association of citizens assemblies. Prime Minister of Uzbekistan is appointed the head of the national council. His first deputy’s rank is elevated to the status of a minister, who will be in charge of household matters, medical and transpiration services; the chairman’s deputy’s rank is elevated to the status of a deputy minister.

Human trafficking and IS followers in Central Asia

Human trafficking and IS followers in Central Asia

31.01.2017 09:21 msk Human Rights Politics Migration Central Asia Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkey, Republic of Uzbekistan

Neo-patrimonial regimes have been established in Central Asian countries following the implosion of the Soviet Union. The new elites divided entire economies and “sweet-spot” government positions between “bosses” and their “vassals.” Meanwhile, the rest of the society, who are excluded from such networks, has no chances to secure good jobs, to peacefully and beneficially conduct business and remains impoverished. Such systems of management create fertile grounds for booming human trafficking and joining the ranks of IS, Kazakh political scientist Talgat Mamyrayymov says in the article he authored below.

Verdict in Kyrgyzstan: Highest level of hypocrisy

Verdict in Kyrgyzstan: Highest level of hypocrisy

26.01.2017 12:14 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Today’s editorial covers the event of the day in Kyrgyzstan—a Bishkek court ruled to leave Azimjan Askarov’s life-long imprisonment verdict in force. Why was the journalist and human rights activist was tried in the first place? Chief Editor Daniil Kislov is certain that his colleague and friend was imprisoned for his courageous work, for criticism and the truth the court refused to acknowledge. It is such truth that the Kyrgyz government and society are still unprepared to face.

Kyrgyz court leaves life imprisonment verdict in Askarov case in force

Kyrgyz court leaves life imprisonment verdict in Askarov case in force

24.01.2017 22:54 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Early on January 24, a verdict was issued in the case of Azimjan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek, journalist and human rights advocate, who was arrested during the bloody events in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Mr Askarov was accused of organising mass disorders and killing of a police officer. Appellate courts of all levels in Kyrgyzstan upheld the verdict to life-long imprisonment and property confiscation. Four years later, the UN Committee for Human Rights Committee investigated into Mr Askarov’s case and adopted a decision that Mr Askarov was arrested illegally and must therefore be freed. In July 2016, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan, instead of implementing the UN Committee’s recommendations, has directed lower courts to retry the case.

Turkmenistan: Repressing Gulen supporters to cajole Erdogan?

Turkmenistan: Repressing Gulen supporters to cajole Erdogan?

20.12.2016 11:15 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Turkmenistan Turkey, Republic of

Repressions are underway in Turkmenistan against former teachers and graduates of Turkish education institutions. They are accused of having communications with bodies and structures of an organisation allegedly under the Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen’s influence. According to sources of Fergana, up to 90 per cent of former teachers at Turkish-Turkmen lyceums were questioned throughout the country. According to officers of state security agencies, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, sophisticated tortures are applied to the detainees with no warrants or reasons to do so; certain detentions and tortures resulted in the death of inmates.

Poet to new Uzbek president: Let’s experiment!

Poet to new Uzbek president: Let’s experiment!

07.12.2016 09:27 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

“Dear Shavkat Miromonovich! I am addressing you in your capacity of a private individual, who has ended up in a complicated situation, which can be resolved in a dignifying manner. I believe that you are able to solve this problem independently. However, since the only source of power in the Republic—as the Constitution reads—is the people, I also firmly believe any form of INTERACTION—shall we say, in the form of an open letter like the one you are reading now—would make sense. I also firmly believe in the power of printed word.”

Apricot pits or Why was Yekaterina Sajneva deported from Uzbekistan

Apricot pits or Why was Yekaterina Sajneva deported from Uzbekistan

01.12.2016 10:39 msk Human Rights Politics Interview Russia Uzbekistan

A plane Russian citizen Yekaterian Sajneva was in landed in Uzbekistan on November 27. Ms Sajneva is a journalist for the Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, who has been in Uzbekistan several times. But this time Yekaterina was travelling in Uzbekistan for personal reasons. She was detained on the third day of her visit and deported several hours thereafter back to Russia “for violating the rules of sojourn.” Yekaterina told the details of how everything unfolded in an interview with Fergana Chief Editor Daniil Kislov.

Radio Liberty: “We hope Tajik authorities understand their mistake and reinstate our journalists’ accreditation”

Radio Liberty: “We hope Tajik authorities understand their mistake and reinstate our journalists’ accreditation”

29.11.2016 09:36 msk Human Rights Tajikistan

Late last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan revoked the accreditations of six journalists of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) based in Dushanbe. The exterior ministry provided no comments on the decision. However, the journalists’ accreditation was revoked after RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported on a new appointment for Rukshona Rakhmonova, President Emomali Rakhmon’s daughter. RFE/RL Director of Communications Joanna Levison commented on the situation, on why did disagreeable journalist were “punished” and how the Dushanbe bureau is planning to continue its work in an interview with Fergana.

Uzbekistan: Stop punitive psychiatry on Jamshid Karimov!

Uzbekistan: Stop punitive psychiatry on Jamshid Karimov!

25.11.2016 09:14 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Independent journalist Jamshid Karimov has been forcibly and secretly contained in a psychiatry hospital in Samarkand since January 2012. At the orders of the ruling elite in Tashkent, the doctors there prevent any information on the journalist’s health from circulating; Mr Karimov is kept in complete isolation from the outer world and only allowed to rarely see his daughter. It is obvious that he is no danger to society and should not be confined for such a long period to a closed ward in a hospital. Jamshid’s friends and colleagues are convinced that he is being held against his will and that the "treatments" he undergoes bear the all the hallmarks of punitive psychiatry.

Living in someone else’s life. The story of a transgender woman from Tajikistan (18+)

14.11.2016 10:50 msk Human Rights Interview Uzbekistan

Until very recently, she had a male name and surname as well as men’s clothes. However, she confesses, she never felt comfortable in a men’s body. She wanted to wear dresses, use mascara and feel herself a real woman. She felt herself to be a woman since she was a child but did not know what to do about it. After all, in Tajikistan, where she was born and raised in, discussions of transgender matters are unacceptable. So obtaining permission for gender change turned out to be a very big challenge. Moreover, the new image of Mila (not her real name) was rejected even by her own mother. Having undergone humiliation, insults, taunting and alienation by closest people, Mila decided to leave Tajikistan and start a new life in a different country.

Any attack on representative of authority is equated to terrorist act in Kazakhstan. But why?

Any attack on representative of authority is equated to terrorist act in Kazakhstan. But why?

09.11.2016 13:37 msk Human Rights Politics Kazakhstan

The fate of Ruslan Kulebayev, the best known “terrorist” in Kazakhstan at this time, will be known on November 2. Prosecutor Jarkyn Bakashbayev is asking to implement the capital punishment. Even though Kazakhstan does not apply the capital punishment due to an indefinite moratorium, charges of terrorism could lead to such a verdict even if the assassination of 10 individuals that Kulebayev is charged with is discounted.

Impunity endangers our right to know

Impunity endangers our right to know

25.10.2016 18:44 msk Human Rights Politics Central Asia

“Over the past decade, more than 800 journalists have been killed in the line of duty, and only 8% of these cases have been resolved. These are the official figures of the Director-General of UNESCO, an organization of 195 Member States. The 92% unresolved cases tells the public that free expression is not protected. It tells them that society cannot ensure their right to information. This is why every Government must act upon its responsibility to investigate crimes against journalists. Every government has to act timely and thoroughly, if they are to set a precedent for other cases. If we allow any form of violence against journalists, we allow impunity to prevail.” - The article by Frank La Rue - UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information.

Uzbekistan: Everyone, yes, everyone is picking cotton. But two women taking photos

Uzbekistan: Everyone, yes, everyone is picking cotton. But two women taking photos

19.10.2016 10:42 msk Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

The state-run system of forced labour will further be implemented in Uzbekistan, and the Uzbek authorities will continue diligently hiding this from the World Bank and International Labour Organisation. The latter two, by the way, do not seem to be very keen to uncover and discover any violations—doing so is unnecessary at this time. This also means two genuinely human rights advocates will have to continue monitoring the situation despite problems and obstacles the local authorities continue mounting to prevent their activities. They call themselves Besstrashnye [The Fearless Ones]. The group includes Yelena Urlayeva, the leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU), and Malohat Eshonqulova, an independent journalist.

Punitive psychiatry gaining momentum in Kazakhstan

Punitive psychiatry gaining momentum in Kazakhstan

18.10.2016 09:41 msk Human Rights Politics Kazakhstan

Authorities and totalitarian countries often utilize physicians and medicines to suppress dissenting citizens and political opponents. Modern Kazakhstan is no exception. Those criticizing Astana risk being declared insane and ending up in psychiatric institutions.

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