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Ambassador Bolot Isakovich Otunbaev
Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic
2360 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 449 9822 I Fax: 202 449 8275
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
I am writing to you concerning human rights defender Azimjan Askarov, who has spent almost ten years in prison after being unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment in September 2010 for his alleged role in the June 2010 interethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. Amnesty International believes the charges against him were fabricated in retaliation for his human rights work and that the investigation and trial were marred by fair trial violations. Azimjan Askarov’s credible allegations that he was tortured in pre-trial detention have never been properly investigated.
Azimjan Askarov will turn 69 in May and his health has seriously deteriorated after years in prison. He suffers from cardiac and respiratory problems, and has not been receiving adequate medical care, which in the context of the deadly spread of COVID-19 in Kyrgyzstan puts his life at increased risk.
In 2016 the UN Human Rights Committee called on your Government to immediately release Azimjan Askarov and for his conviction to be quashed. This call has been reiterated by the European Union and many others on numerous occasions.
I urge you to ensure that Azimjan Askarov is immediately and unconditionally released, as he is a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for defending human rights; and pending his release, ensure that Azimjan Askarov and all others imprisoned and detained in Kyrgyzstan have access to the adequate medical care they require and to the same healthcare standards that are available in the community, including when it comes to testing, prevention and treatment of COVID-19.