Kyrgyzstan: Judicial harassment of Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Narynbek Idinov aka Naryn Aiyp

01/09/2017
Urgent Appeal

KGZ 001 / 0917 / OBS 095
Judicial harassment
Kyrgyzstan
September 1, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kyrgyzstan.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment of Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, President of Adilet Legal Clinic and former Member of Parliament [1], Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Narynbek Idinov aka Naryn Aiyp, respectively chief editor and journalist of independent news outlet Zanoza [2].

According to the information received, on August 17, 2017, the Bishkek City Court upheld a nine million KGS (three million KGS - approx. 37,360 euros - each) fine against Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp, following a civil complaint for “insulting the dignity and honour of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic” under Article 4 of the 2003 Law on Guarantees of the Activities of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Previously, on June 30, 2017, the Oktyabrsky District Court sitting in first instance had ordered the three defenders to pay the same fine. The complaint stems from a speech delivered by Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, in which she strongly criticised several lawsuits that had recently been filed against media outlets and recent Constitutional amendments. Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp were targeted for their coverage of Ms. Cholpon Djakupova’s speech (see background information).

Moreover, a travel ban remains currently in force against Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp. In addition, Ms. Cholpon Djakupov’s cottage has been seized (see background information).

The Observatory strongly condemns the judicial harassment targeting Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp, which appears to be a form of retaliation for their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in particular in defence of the right to freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan.

Accordingly, the Observatory urges the Kyrgyz authorities to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them.

The Observatory further urges the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that all the judicial proceedings are carried out in full compliance with their right to a fair trial as protected under international law.

Background information:

On April 20, 2017, the Prosecutor General filed a civil lawsuit against Ms. Cholpon Djakupova for insulting the honour and dignity of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Almazbek Atambev during a speech on March 30, 2017, at a round table on freedom of speech organised by the Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic. She particularly denounced several lawsuits filed against media outlets and criticised the President for the negative impact on human rights of the constitutional amendments proposed in the December 2016 referendum. In December 2016, Ms. Cholpon Djakupova had resigned from her position as MP hereby losing her parliamentary immunity, to protest against recent amendments made to the Constitution and against the President’s role in the adoption of the 2016 Constitutional amendments [3].

Alongside Ms. Cholpon Djakupova, the Prosecutor General also filed a civil lawsuit against Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp for their coverage of Ms. Cholpon Djakupova’s speech in the independent news outlet Zanoza.

On April 20, 2017, the Prosecutor General requested the Oktyabsky District Court to adopt a series of conservation interim measures.

On April 26, 2017, the Oktyabsky District Court ordered the seizure of Ms. Cholpon Djakupova’s cottage, a travel ban against the three defendants and the blockage of Zanoza’s article on Ms. Cholpon Djakupova’s speech. The three defendants had not been notified of the opening of a case against them and were not notified of the court’s decision until the decision was reported in the media on April 28, 2017. They later appealed the decision but on May 18, 2017, the Bishkek City Court upheld the decision.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Kyrgyzstan, urging them to:

i. Put an end to all form of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Cholpon Djakupova Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp as well as against all human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan;

ii. Ensure that judicial proceedings against Ms. Cholpon Djakupova Ms. Dina Maslova and Mr. Naryn Aiyp are carried out in full compliance with her right to a fair trial as protected under international law;

iii. Put an end to the ongoing trend of judicial harassment against human rights defenders on trumped up charges of insulting the dignity and honour of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic;

iv. Repeal the 2003 Law on Guarantees of the Activities of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to the extent that it unjustifiably and arbitrarily restricts freedom of expression and contradicts the Constitution;

v. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its article 1, 6 and 12.2;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

Addresses:

· Mr. Almazbek Atambaev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Fax: + 996312626191
· Mr. Ulan Israilov, Minister of Internal Affairs, Kyrgyzstan, Fax: + 996312682044 / + 996312623853, Wmail: secretariat@mvd.kg
· Mr. Uran Akhmetov, Minister of Justice, Kyrgyzstan, Fax: +996 (312) 656502, Email: jm.26@mail.ru
· Ms. Indira Joldubayeva, General Prosecutor Office, Kyrgyzstan, Fax: +996 (312) 661734
· Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: kyrgyzmission@bluewin.ch, Fax: +41 22 707.92.21
· Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 640 01 31, Email: aitmatov@infonie.be

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Kyrgyzstan in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, September 1, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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