Kyrgyzstan: excessive use of force by police during arrests of protesters

Press release
Courtesy of RFE/RL Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek-Paris, 25 March 2017. On 25 March 2017, police used excessive force when arresting at least 68 protesters who took to the streets of Bishkek to protest the detention of former member of Parliament Sadyr Japarov. Many protesters were beaten, those arrested were denied access to legal defence.

Detained protesters were taken to the Pervomaiskii police station of Bishkek and reportedly charged with hooliganism, premeditated destruction of or prejudice to property and use of violence against a state officer.

In the run up to the Presidential elections scheduled for November 2017, political tensions are mounting in Kyrgyzstan. Former member of Parliament Sadyr Japarov was arrested on 25 March 2017 on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border. He is reportedly charged with Art. 227, 341, 113 and 234 of the Criminal Code (threat of murder, hostage taking, hooliganism and violence against a state official).

Moreover, this month, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev filed two lawsuits for libel against independent media: Kyrgyz office of Radio Freedom and the website and its journalist Naryna Aiypu. President’s political party in its turn filed a lawsuit for libel against the independent news website "24" and human rights defender Rita Karasartova. If they lose the lawsuits, the independent media will be subject to pay exorbitant amounts in fines ranging up to 134 000 euros.

Additionally, on 18 March 2017, six peaceful protesters were arrested while crossing a street during a march "For political rights and freedom of expression". Charged with violation of public order, they were denied access to legal aid. Four of them were sentenced to five days of detention in a remand centre of Bishkek in conditions amounting to ill-treatment.

"Detaining protesters in Soviet-era remand center with detention conditions amounting to torture is a humiliation to human dignity aimed at preventing them from exercising their right to peaceful assembly"

FIDH Vice-President, Head of "Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan" Tolekan Ismailova.

Recent crackdown on protesters added up to the attacks on the independent media and on leading human rights defenders and NGOs, observed during the last few years in Kyrgyzstan.

FIDH and Bir Duino Kyrgzystan call the authorities to cease using violence against protesters, respect their human rights obligations and ensure access to justice to all victims of human rights violations.

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