25 september 2017

Central Asia news

Appeal against depriving Kyrgyz human rights defender of his house starts

17.08.2017 12:30 msk

Fergana


Bazar-Korgon District Court of the Jalal-Abad province of Kyrgyzstan hears the motion to free the house of the human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov, sentenced to life imprisonment, from arrest on 16 August, Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan human rights centre reports.

However, the court informed the participants of the trial about the representative of the State Property Fund could not attend the hearing due to his summer vacation. Next session will call the participants on 23 August. Observers from Amnesty International and International Partnership for Human Rights were also present.


Azimzhan Askarov

The appeal initiated by human rights defenders says that the Prosecutor's Office of Bazar-Korgon District illegally arrested the house of Askarov, thus violating the requirements of Part 4 of Article 119 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, which established that "the arrest can not be imposed on the property specified in the List of Property, not subject to confiscation on the verdict of the court."

These are a flat, a house, or some of their parts if the convict and his family permanently reside in them. The house of Azimzhan Askarov is his only home inherited after the death of his mother. At present, the wife of the human rights activist Hadicha Askarova lives there.

When in October 2015 the bailiffs of the Bazar-Korgon District Court came to Askarov's house, the lawyer explained to them about the illegality of the decision to confiscate the house, and they left. In May 2016, employees of the State Property Fund of the Kyrgyz Republic arrived to register the property for the transfer to a state possession.

After Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan had requested the Prosecutor General's Office to investigate the illegal confiscation of the house of Azimzhan Askarov, the Bazar-Korgon District Prosecutor's Office reported that they communicated with the Judicial Department of the Jalal-Abad Oblast to eliminate violations of the rule of law.

Human rights defenders filed a lawsuit in the inter-district court of Bishkek to recognise the order of the State Property Fund as not valid, and the latter, not bringing the case to trial, cancelled his order and the act of transferring the confiscated property of Askarov to state ownership. However, the prosecutor's office refuses to recognise the unlawfulness of its arrest on the house of Azimzhan Askarov.

The law enforcement authorities summoned the well-known human rights activist and journalist Azimzhan Askarov (ethnic Uzbek) on 16 June 2010 to question him about riots led to a death of the police officer. After the night at the police station, the investigators formally charged him with organising mass riots, calling for the overthrow of power and inciting ethnic hatred.

Subsequently, all judicial levels confirmed the human rights activist is guilty of all charges and the murder of the police officer and sentenced him to life imprisonment despite the absence of any evidence against him and the proof of torture during his confinement in detention facilities.

In April 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee called on Kyrgyzstan to release Azimzhan Askarov and to annul the decision to convict him. The Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan instead of implementing the recommendations of the UN Committee decided to send the criminal case of Askarov for a new examination; as a result, the court upheld the life sentence again.

Azimzhan Askarov is a prisoner of conscience. Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, People In Need, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Amnesty International, celebrity stars like Martin Sheen demanded to release him immediately.

International awards like Homo Homini Award (2011) of the People In Need, CPJ International Press Freedom Award (2012), and 2014 Human Rights Defender of the U.S. Department of State recognised the contribution of Askarov into the protection of human rights and freedoms.

Fergana News Agency