Confirmation of the sentence against Mr. Maxim Kuleshov - KGZ 002 / 0907 / OBS 119.1

18/10/2007
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (KCHR) of the confirmation of the sentence against Mr. Maxim Kuleshov, Coordinator of the Tokmok Human Rights Resource Centre.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the international Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kyrgyzstan.

New information:

According to the information received, after his first sentencing to 10 days’ imprisonment on September 24, 2007 (See background information), Mr. Kuleshov spent three days in detention in Tokmok, but was released after his lawyer filed a complaint in front of the Tchuyski Regional Court, thus suspending the execution of the sentence.

On October 17, 2007, the Tchuyski Regional Court confirmed the sentence pronounced by the Tokmok city Court against Mr. Kuleshov. His lawyer filed a new complaint in front of the Supreme Court in order for his case to be re-examined. If the Supreme Court confirms the sentence, Mr. Kuleshov will have to execute the remaining seven days of imprisonment.

The Observatory strongly condemns these new abuses against Mr. Kuleshov and believes that the 10 days’ sentence that has been confirmed aims at preventing him from taking part in and reporting on the current discussions about the new draft Constitution that will be submitted to referendum on October 21, 2007, by the Kyrgyz President, Mr. Kurbanbek Bakiev.

The Observatory recalls that as a member-State of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Kyrgyzstan acknowledges that “the [...] UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders [... places] a responsibility [...] on states to adopt and implement adequate legislation and administrative procedures that would provide for a conducive environment for human rights defenders to promote and strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and recognises “the need for particular attention, support and protection for human rights defenders by the OSCE, its Institutions and field operations, as well as by participating States”1.

Reminder of the facts:

On September 24, 2007, Mr. Kuleshov was condemned to 10 days’ imprisonment by the Tokmok city Court for recording open discussions that were organised in the local assembly of the city of Tokmok, concerning the new draft Constitution, and for taking photos in the framework of this event.

In particular, Mr. Kuleshov was asked by the mayor of the city of Tokmok to stop taking pictures and recording his speech, stating that he had no right to do it. Mr. Kuleshov was then taken out of the meeting hall by employees of the city hall. He was subsequently arrested by plain-cloth officers and sentenced to imprisonment.

Further, on September 12, 2007, Mr. Kuleshov was informed that a litigation case against him had begun, after a deputy of the Tokmok city hall, Mr. Bolot Kadyrkulov, initiated judicial proceedings against him. Mr. Kuleshov is accused by the deputy of “harming his honour and business reputation”. A few months ago, Mr. Kuleshov had lodged a complaint accusing Mr. Kadyrkulov of “breaching the Kyrgyz law” on free access to information.

Mr. Kuleshov has been defending human rights for several years, bringing cases of abuses perpetrated by Tokmok officials to administrative justice and cases of torture and ill-treatment to criminal courts. In 2006, he had already been prosecuted for “defamation” by a representative of the local authorities after organising a public awareness campaign against torture (See Observatory Annual Report 2006).

Action requested :

Please write Kyrgyz authorities urging them to:

i.guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Kuleshov and of all human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan;

ii.put an immediate end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Kuleshov and, more generally, against all Kyrgyz human rights defenders;

iii.conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its article 1 which provides that “every person has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental liberties at the national and international levels”, 6.b, which reads that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others [...] freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms” and 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the [...] Declaration”;

iv.conform more generally with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the international instruments ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

Addresses:

Mr. Bakiev Kurmanbek Salievich, President of Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzskaya Respublika, 720003. Bishkek, Prospekt Chuy, 205, Fax: 996 312 218 627, Email: ghpress2@rhl.bishkek.su

Mr. Azim Issabekov, Prime Minister, Fax: 996 312 218 627

Mr. Bolotbek Nogoybaev, Minister of Internal Affairs, Fax: 996312663031, 996312288788

Mr. Marat Kaipov, Minister of Justice, Fax: 996312663044 / 996312656502

Mr. Elmurza Satybaldiev, Public Prosecutor of the Kyrgyz of Republic, Fax: 996312665411

Permanent mission of Kyrgyzstan, Rue Maunoir 26, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland, Email: kyrgyzmission@bluewin.ch, Fax: +41 22 707.92.21

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

***
Paris - Geneva, October 18, 2007.

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Email : Appeals@fidh.omct.org
Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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