20 april 2014

Central Asia news: Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan's Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov: The city savior and Man of Year?

Kyrgyzstan's Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov: The city savior and Man of Year?

10.01.2013 16:02 msk Ferghana Valley Kyrgyzstan

Is Melis Myrzakmatov really such a significant personality for Southern Kyrgyzstan? Is he really who he says he is? We talked to a native resident of Osh, who wished to remain anonymous, about this. He says Myrzakmatov is only pulling wool on people’s eyes and cares about his own personal benefit alone. “This is just another PR stunt. He has donned the crown of a restorer and is now walking around with it. It is sad to know that our mayor is just a conspicuous individual, and journalists are supporting that,” N. says.

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan: Incident leads to hostage taking, mutual accusations

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan: Incident leads to hostage taking, mutual accusations

09.01.2013 14:12 msk Ferghana Valley Kyrgyzstan

“At around 1800 hours on 5 January, some 50 Uzbek citizens approached the [Kyrgyz] Charbak border outpost. A road designates the borderline there, albeit it is jointly used [by both Uzbek and Kyrgyz citizens]. There were six or seven concrete [electricity] poles erected on the Uzbek territory (beyond the demarcated borderline). These people came and said the poles were erected in a wrong location. Additionally, there were holes dug [for new poles] and an informal leader [among the aforementioned Uzbek citizens] demanded they be filled up. “In the morning of 6 January, some 1,000 people came [from Uzbekistan] and were rather aggressive. Despite Kyrgyz border guards’ warning shots, they started pulling the poles down. A local [Kyrgyz] police officer was there, but they did not listen to him. Moreover, he was beaten up and his vehicle was totally damaged. Then the border guards (the Charbak outpost commander and a soldier) fired warning shots into the air. The crowd stepped back and the police officer was saved. The crowd then moved onto the village of Hushyar and tore down 10 new poles and 15 older ones, which were erected 15-20 years ago…”

Kyrgyzstan: Judge rules parliament and government to be called to account for Fergana website ban

Kyrgyzstan: Judge rules parliament and government to be called to account for Fergana website ban

22.12.2012 10:08 msk Kyrgyzstan

On 19 December, the Bishkek inter-district court held the second hearing on blocking access to the Fergana.RU website. The first session was scheduled for 14 December and was later cancelled due to the absence of the defendant, i.e. representatives of the State Communications Agency (SCA). Today, two people represented the SCA: Rustam Zhunusaliev, the deputy head of the administration for control enforcement at the SCA and the expert on legal matters, and Natalia Chernogubova, the deputy head of government supervision at the SCA and the expert on technical matters.

Bishkek: The end of light and gas

Bishkek: The end of light and gas

20.12.2012 17:10 msk Business Kyrgyzstan

Frost has not lifted off Northern Kyrgyzstan for the past two weeks, reaching unfamiliar temperatures of -15 to -20 C. Now people often recall that only this autumn Kyrgyz officials assured the citizens that “the country is prepared for the winter season.” Of course everything turned out to be quite different. The people of Bishkek met winter face to face on 12 December, when gas was switched off in the suburbs and in some of the city’s boroughs. The situation got worse on 14 December, when the gas switch-off spread. Central heating has not been connected in all the houses in Bishkek, especially not in the newly built blocks, so the lack of gas became a catastrophe for Bishkek and its surroundings. People started using alternative methods of heating: stoves and heaters. The electricity grid could not handle the increase in pressure: electricity blackouts are back in the city.

Hero of the day: Kyrgyz SDPK MP suggested death sentence by electric chair to prisoners serving life

Hero of the day: Kyrgyz SDPK MP suggested death sentence by electric chair to prisoners serving life

05.12.2012 12:46 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan must introduce the death penalty – it is more “humane and economically viable” than a life sentence, said social democrat fraction MP Erkin Sakebayev on 4 December at a meeting of the committee on law, safety and crime fighting, KYRtag reports. “A life sentence means a slow death, why torture them like that? I think it is much more humane to introduce the death penalty. In the USA, for example, criminals are executed on the electric chair. Why don’t we introduce the same method?” Sakebayev suggested.

Letter to Azimjan Askarov, or New York will wait for the laureate

Letter to Azimjan Askarov, or New York will wait for the laureate

28.11.2012 23:17 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

The prestigious International Press Freedom Awards were given out by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ.org) in the USA on 20 November. Human rights activist and journalist Azimjon Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek from Kyrgyzstan, is one of the four laureates of the prize. Fergana editor Daniil Kislov was at the ceremony, held in one of New York’s most majestic venues. He recounts his experiences in a letter to Mr Askarov, who is serving a life sentence in Bishkek following an unjust court verdict.

Azimjan Askarov Takes His Torture and Unfair Trial in Kyrgyzstan to Human Rights Committee

Azimjan Askarov Takes His Torture and Unfair Trial in Kyrgyzstan to Human Rights Committee

13.11.2012 23:51 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

Azimjan Askarov, a leading human rights activist imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan, has taken his case to the UN Human Rights Committee, in a complaint filed on his behalf by the Open Society Justice Initiative and Nurbek Toktakunov, a Kyrgyzstan-based lawyer. The abuses suffered by Askarov are representative of a wider pattern seen in a series of prosecutions of ethnic-Uzbeks that followed the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010. Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, noted after a visit to Kyrgyzstan in December 2011 that the police had failed to take meaningful steps to investigate complaints of torture in the aftermath of the violence.

Human Rights Watch: Skewed Justice Over 2010 Conflict in Kyrgyzstan

Human Rights Watch: Skewed Justice Over 2010 Conflict in Kyrgyzstan

29.10.2012 09:48 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

On October 25, 2012, the Osh Province Court sentenced 33-year-old Mahamad Bizurukov, an ethnic Uzbek and a Russian citizen, to life in prison. In the second recent case, Niyazaliev was detained by Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee officers on the Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan border in January. He was extradited to Kyrgyzstan in June to stand trial in connection with violence in the Suzak district in June 2010. Prosecutors allege that residents of the district blocked the Bishkek-Osh highway near the Sanpa cotton factory on June 12 and 13, poured fuel oil on the road to slow vehicles, and attacked drivers and passengers. The investigation said that 16 people were killed and two others are missing as a result. In 2011, 18 other people were sentenced to life in prison on charges related to this violence, and one defendant to 25 years in prison. “It is a miscarriage of justice and reeks of revenge when defendants are sentenced to life in prison in unfair trials. Kyrgyzstan’s authorities should immediately review these convictions and ensure that all the defendants’ rights are upheld, especially their right to a fair and impartial trial", Hugh Williamson, HRW Europe and Central Asia director said.

Knut Vollebaek: The underlying reasons for the June events have still not been eradicated

Knut Vollebaek: The underlying reasons for the June events have still not been eradicated

22.10.2012 21:02 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek visited Kyrgyzstan in mid-October. During his three day visit, he went to the South of the republic and met the authorities. At the end of his visit, Mr Vollebaek gave Fergana an exclusive interview, in which he said that the underlying reasons which lead to the disturbances and violence of June 2010 have still not been examined and that there are problems in delivering fair justice in criminal cases. However, he said that much has been done to reconstruct normal life, and the situation in the South of the country has become significantly better, with representatives of different groups communicating with each other more.

Maksim Bakiyev tracked not only in Bishkek, but also in the States?

Maksim Bakiyev tracked not only in Bishkek, but also in the States?

16.10.2012 13:24 msk Analytics Kyrgyzstan

The promising detention of the former Kyrgyz president’s son in London, who left the country with his family and entourage after yet another “revolution” in 2010, was somewhat unexpected for observers. However, it suddenly became clear that Kyrgyzstan is not the only country to have grievances against Mr Bakiyev, but the USA does too. While Bishkek primarily accuses the influential presidential offspring of corporate raiding, embezzling government funds and other grave offences, the US authorities accuse him of “participating in a criminal conspiracy with the aim of committing fraud and colluding to obstruct justice”. It is important to note that there are criminal acts committed by Mr Bakiyev from April 2010 to April 2012, when he was already in London...

Kyrgyzstan: There will be no Revolution-3 or The opposition’s voluntary fiasco

Kyrgyzstan: There will be no Revolution-3 or The opposition’s voluntary fiasco

04.10.2012 20:17 msk Politics Kyrgyzstan

The events that took place by the walls of the Kyrgyz White House yesterday cannot possibly called a «storming» or a violent effort to capture power. They can rather be called a «hurdle race» or, at most, «hooliganism with resistance to police workers». The third of October will never go into the history books, like the March or April dates of 2005 and 2010. It is best to see how the events unfolded on the video made by Bishkek journalists. The leader of the opposition party Ata Jurt Kambichek Tashiyev, who led the «attack» on the parliament building and presidential administration and his supporters (around twenty people) were unarmed. Meeting hardly any resistance, they went over the fence and were detained by the police and soldiers. Not a single OMON agent suffered. Tashiyev «damaged the third upper part of the hip» (to put it crudely, his behind), and some more people got light injuries. Incidentally, they all declined medical services afterwards.

Kyrgyzstan: journalists picket “Let’s show parliament our teeth”

Kyrgyzstan: journalists picket “Let’s show parliament our teeth”

02.10.2012 18:01 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

A picket called “Let’s show parliament our teeth” to defend free speech and access to information took place on 1 October 2012 outside the Kyrgyzstan Parliament building. The reason for the action was that Kyrgyzstan’s MPs have attempted to sabotage journalists’ work more than once. Around 70 people gathered by the Jogorku Kenesh (parliament), around 50 of those were journalists from various national and international press outlets. Some even came with small children, whom they could not leave at home. However, not all the media participated and only some covered the event. First, the journalists displayed posters on the parliament fence saying “The cameras see everything, dictaphones hear everything. The truth cannot be hidden!”, “Fergana.ru, NTS, who’s next?!”, “The parliament is beyond conscience and shame”, “The government totally supports the freedom of expression, as long as it is strictly controlled.”

Kyrgyzstan: Azimzhan Askarov’s lawyers insist on review of his case

Kyrgyzstan: Azimzhan Askarov’s lawyers insist on review of his case

26.06.2012 00:41 msk Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

Lawyers of Azimzhan Askarov, a human rights defender sentenced to life, insist on review of his case due to new evidence. They have found over a hundred of new witnesses of the June 2010 tragic events in the south of Kyrgyzstan willing to testify at the court. As one recalls, Azimjon Askarov, a human rights defender who worked on documenting police treatment of detainees, was found guilty of involvement in the gruesome killing of a policeman and injuring several officers during mass disturbances in the southern city of Bazar-Kurgan in June 2010. After a prosecution marred with fair trial violations and allegations of torture, he was sentenced to life in prison. On December 20, 2011, the Kyrgyzstan Supreme Court upheld the verdict.

Detailed chronology of the Osh events in the period from April 29 to June 15, 2010 published

Detailed chronology of the Osh events in the period from April 29 to June 15, 2010 published

31.05.2012 14:29 msk Kyrgyzstan

The long-awaited report “A Chronicle of Violence: The events in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (Osh Region)”, prepared by Memorial Human Rights Center (Russia), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway) and Freedom House (USA) which gives a detailed chronology of the events in the Osh Province in the period 29 April to 15 June 2010, as well as an analysis of available information and statistics related to the violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 has been published. Working on a 200-page report took almost two years. The report is the results of field research in Osh starting from 18 June 2010. It is based on the accounts of over 300 eye-witnesses to the events, unpublished reports by government organs, documents from medical facilities, satellite images, etc. As a result we see perhaps the most thorough recount of the ethnic conflict in Osh capable of separating the facts from many myths and challenging the existing stereotypes regarding the causes and causers of the massacre.

Kyrgyzstan:

Kyrgyzstan: "Tragedy in the South"

27.05.2012 22:02 msk Analytics Kyrgyzstan

"Tragedy in the south" is a study published by Ethnopolitics Papers, authored by three experts who worked at the international Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission: Anna Matveeva, University of Exeter and King's College London, Igor Savin, Russian Academy of Sciences & Bahrom Faizullaev, independent researcher. It argues that political processes and the actions of the authorities cannot exclusively account for the violent clashes that occurred there in June 2010. Rather, the violence emerged out of a growing alienation between the Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities which over time developed a mutual antipathy, and lacked a shared vision of the future. Formal provisions for minorities failed to offset the rising nationalism of the majority group in the South. Political resources and mechanisms for managing interethnic relations had been in steady decline since independence, while politicians came to rely on informal arrangements with Uzbek community leaders. The crisis of April 2010 created a window of opportunity to redefine the place of Uzbeks in the new political order, which their leaders grasped. Surge in criminal rivalries and rapid immigration from the countryside influenced social context, in which violence took place. As interethnic grievances became politicised, the ineptitude of the authorities contributed to the transformation of spontaneous riots into full-scale clashes. A logic of collective insecurities, in both rural and urban contexts, lay behind the actions of both sides. The conflict narratives that emerged in the aftermath continue to feed a situation of a latent conflict, making reconciliation more difficult still.

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