Kyrgyzstan: Over 150 lawyers in Osh refused to defend Uzbeks because their own security concerns
On October 15 at the press-conference in the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan (Osh) the group of lawyers – Kubanych Joroev, Dilbar Turdieva, Tair Asanov, Nazgul Suyunbaeva, Tatiana Tomina, Dinara Turdumatova – made the statement, indicating they refused to get involved in the trials on June riots until they are guaranteed security for them and their families in the court room and outside.
- This is the terrorism against us – says Kubanych Joroev, the head of city legal assistance center #1. – We face insults and attacks. We addressed President Roza Otunbaeva with the official letter from the Bar Assocition union in Osh and Batken Oblasts and the copies were sent to Prosecutor General K. Baibolov, Interior Minister Z. Rysaliev, Justice Minister A. Salyanova, Head of Supreme Court F. Djamasheva, as well as to the head of Osh Oblast court, head of internal affairs department and attorneys of Osh and Osh Oblast. This document is prepared on behalf of 161 lawyers.
Tair Asanov, which was assaulted on September 30, named the organized chase of the lawyers as Bacchanalia. T. Tomina and D. Turdieva were beaten on October 13; on the following day D. Turdumatova and N. Suyunbaeva were attacked.
- Chief judge has a right to make comments, impose fines and make the person leave the court room. However, during the trials on June riots the judges do not react on violations. Obviously, they are scared. We already several times raised this issue at the press-conferences, addressed various officials, the office Prosecutor General, and discussed this topic at the meeting with Roza Otunbaeva. Nothing has changed. We assume that hunting against us is organized by interested parties – T. Asanov noted.
The lawyers also named certain people, they have claims against: Bakyt Usubaliev (the judge of Kara-Suu district court) and Ramazan Kozhomkulov (his colleague from Osh city court). The lawyers were insulted under their tacit consent.
- The targets of attack were us, not even our defendants that were sitting in the court room cell. We were hearing swear words from women – the relatives of sufferers – addressed to us and our defendants – says Dinara Turdumatova. – There was no reaction, demonstrated by judge and attorney. Feeling impunity, these women commented on our statements, insulted and interrupted us. We had to accept this behavior in order not to respond on provocation. By the way, the same 40-50 women show up during other trials, pretending to be the relatives of the victims…
According to Dinara Turdumatova, she has personal claims against state accuser (Erkinbaeva). "She was extremely provoking the lawyers: interrupted us, insulted and instigated those women", said Turdumatova.
Nazgul Suyunbaeva said "I have a feeling they do not care what goes on in the court room. These women are allowed to do everything. They attack us and blame as if we killed their relatives. Yes, they are in grief; their emotions are understandable… Does it give them a right to beat us?"
The lawyers showed the thing, left by one of these women. This was the piece of iron, wrapped in the handkerchief. This "weapon" injured Dinara Turdumatova and her colleagues. Their driver was even hospitalized.
During one of such trials, according to lawyers, they were rescued by "soldiers in red berets" that took them out of the court room.
The relatives of sufferers de facto blame Osh lawyers that they, being Kyrgyz, defend ethnic Uzbeks.
- They think we work with our clients and, listening to our statements, the judge will acquit them – the lawyers note. – Our clients are very scared, they are afraid to give testimony and say they are not guilty; they request to run court session in separated place and limit the public access there. The relatives of the defendants are so scared that they cannot even approach the court room. The same situation is with the witnesses of defendants if they are ethnic Uzbeks.
It has to be mentioned that defense of both sides is conducted by the project, supported by Soros-Kyrgyzstan Foundation – "Temporary center for providing free assistance to the sufferers of June riots".