19 june 2018

Central Asia news

Kyrgyzstan President, journalists and civil society confrontation continues: New lawsuits filed in court

28.04.2017 22:41 msk


The Prosecutor General's Office of the Kyrgyz Republic has filed a new fifth lawsuit on the protection of the honour and dignity of the President. The political analyst of the ‘Zanoza’ website Naryn Ayip told about this to ‘Fergana’.

This time, four defendants - the Zanoza.kg edition, the journalist Naryn Ayip, the editor-in-chief Dina Maslova, and the former member of the country's parliament and the director of the legal clinic ‘Adilet’ Cholpon Jakupova got in the middle.

According to Naryn Ayip, the reason for filing the claim was the publication of the roundtable that had been held on 30 March 2017. ‘The event in support of freedom of speech was organised by the Ombudsman institute, where Cholpon Jakupova spoke. It had been her words about the President and his actions against journalists and civil society that the head of state did not like. And I, my colleague Maslova and our publication are brought to justice for publication of the lawyer’s speech,’ Naryn Ayip concluded.

The Prosecutor General's Office demands 12 million Kyrgyz soms from the defendants (about 180,000 US dollars) - 3 million Kyrgyz soms (45 thousand US dollars) from each defendant. Moreover, properties of defendants have already been seized to secure a claim, and they have been themselves banned from leaving the country.

In an interview with Fergana, Ms Jakupova shared her opinion that this suit and ban to leave the country are related to her upcoming speech planned at the conference on the situation with freedom of speech to be held in Washington D.C. on 3 May, ‘I planned to leave on 1 May, and I was going to report on the situation that has now developed in the country’, said Jakupova, ‘and I think that this information provoked the authorities to adopt a clause forbidding me to leave the country. I will appeal this ban, but I'm sure that the border guards have already been instructed not to let me out of the border. But I don’t get tired to say that I am a law-abiding citizen...’

According to Ms Jakupova, the authorities try to crush the society on her example.

‘Actually, the main goal is to intimidate the society: see what they will do with the one that dares to criticize and object to the president,’ Cholpon Dzhakupova believes, ‘reading their gobbledygook is simply delight. I am accused, because "the stylistic construction of speech contains emotionally expressive elements, irony and sarcasm. The lexical and semantic and contextual analysis of words and expressions showed that they have negative information"... Irony and sarcasm are now being banned, as well as any criticism of the President ... I just can’t find the language to describe my outrage. It's funny when President Atambayev, who calls himself the richest president in the history of our country, infringes on my small house on the shore of Issyk-Kul Lake, I think, let him at least rejoice at it. There is nothing left for the court, but to oblige me to love the president indicating in what ways my love for Almazbek Atambaev should be expressed.’

In mid-March 2017, the Prosecutor General's Office filed two lawsuits against the Zanoza.kg news agency and Azattyk radio to the sum of 26 million Kyrgyz soms. Two weeks later, the country's chief prosecution authority filed a third lawsuit. The fourth lawsuit against Zanoza.kg and journalist Naryn Ayip was filed on 6 April.

Being a member of the parliament of the republic Cholpon Dzhakupova opposed amendments to the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, and resigned as a sign of her disagreement. She has repeatedly criticized President Atambaev for his actions aimed at suppressing freedom of speech and violating international and domestic legal norms.

Ulugbek Babakulov (Bishkek)

Fergana News Agency