Kyrgyzstan Human Rights

Human rights defenders

In February, Vitaly Ponomarev, director of the Central Asia department of the Russian NGO Memorial, was deported to Russia shortly after his arrival in Kyrgyzstan to present a report on unfair trial and torture allegations linked to the Nookat protests (see above). He was banned from re-entering the country for five years.

In November, Bakhrom Khamroev, a Russian human rights defender of Uzbek origin, was arbitrarily detained by NSS officers while he was conducting research for Memorial on developments relating to the Nookat protests. He was detained incommunicado for over 18 hours and interrogated about his research and his alleged links to banned Islamist groups. Following international pressure he was released and deported to Russia.

In December, Nigina Bakhrieva, a Tajikistani human rights defender, was banned from entering Kyrgyzstan for 10 years, reportedly for highlighting violations in relation to the Nookat protests during an international human rights training seminar in Bishkek in September.

Freedom of expression

There was an increase in violent and sometimes fatal attacks, some by masked men, on independent journalists, including stabbings, beatings and shootings.

The authorities condemned these attacks and ordered investigations, but denied any link to articles or investigations by the journalists into corruption and organized crime, among other issues.

In August, a former police officer confessed to the October 2007 murder of ethnic Uzbek journalist and editor Alisher Saipov, but reportedly later withdrew his confession in court, claiming that he had been tortured. The Court of First Instance decided to send the case for investigation but in December the Supreme Court overruled this decision.

Nawal Benaissa, 36 yeards-old, is a mother of 4 who joined Hirak early on and became one of its main female leading voices. She took part to several protests with her husband and children and has been very active on social media. Her Facebook profile gained more than 80 000 followers, before authorities asked her to shut down during one of her detention in custody. She was arrested and held in custody for few hours four times between June and September 2017. This last time she was sued and on mid-February 2018, she was sentenced to 10 months suspended sentence and a fine of 500 hundred dirhams for inciting to commit an offence (by speech, cries or threats made in the places where public meetings, either through posters exposed to the public or by any means fulfilling the condition, advertising, including electronically, on paper and by audio-visual channel, if the provocation has not been followed by effect. Article 299 of the penal code). Her lawyer has appealed the sentence, the Court of Appeal has yet to rule. Benaissa responded to the court’s decision on her Facebook page by expressing her continued support for the Rif protests. “I am proud to take part in the protests in the region and I denounce the imprisonment of Hirak activists. I demand their immediate release,” she wrote. Few weeks ago, she moved from the northern city of Al Hoceima to another Moroccan city in order to flee harassment from authorities.

Press Release

Amnesty International launches world’s biggest human rights campaign

November 28, 2018 – activism