KYRGYZSTAN: Slanderous comments of Kyrgyz President against two leading human rights defenders go unpunished. Decision to be appealed

Press release

Paris-Geneva, September 12, 2016 –On September 7, 2016, the lawsuit brought against the President of Kyrgyzstan for his slanderous statements against two Kyrgyz human rights activists, Tolekan Ismailova and Aziza Abdirasulova, was dismissed by the Bishkek City Court. Both defenders intend to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court.

After a two-day trial held on September 6 and 7, the Bishkek City Court dismissed the lawsuit brought in appeal by Ms. Tolekan Ismailova, President of Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan and FIDH Vice-President, and Ms. Aziza Abdirasulova, President of Kylym Shamy, against the Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, in relation to a public speech he gave on May 14, 2016, in which he mentioned their names next to those of alleged organisers of a political upheaval, promising to ruthlessly suppress any attempts to destabilise the country. In his speech, the President also resorted to the “foreign agents” terminology, presenting Ms. Ismailova and Ms. Abdirasulova as heads of NGOs “faithfully serving their financial donors”. Both defenders announced their intention to bring the case before the Supreme Court.

The Observatory deplores that several irregularities occurred during the trial in appeal, as had already been the case in first instance [1]. On the one hand, although Ms. Tolekan Ismailova and Ms. Aziza Abdirasulova requested several times that documents be added to the case file, the court has systematically refused to allow them to do so. On the other hand, the court also refused several motions filed by Ms. Tolekan Ismailova’s and Ms. Aziza Abdirasulova’s lawyers, such as those summoning the president to court, requesting video recording of the hearings, and requesting the removal of the judge from the case for alleged lack of impartiality.

The Observatory calls upon the Kyrgyz authorities to comply with fair trial standards and equality of arms principles in all circumstances, including for the upcoming proceedings before the Supreme Court. The Observatory more generally urges the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure an enabling environment to all human rights defenders in the country so they are able to carry out their work without hindrances, and to comply with the recommendations outlined in the report published on June 8, 2016, which is available at:

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