Tag Archives: Kyrgyzstan

Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan etc: Majlis Podcast: Lawyers In Central Asia — Defending Clients And Themselves

31/01/21

A court in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where lawyers often come under fierce pressure from the authorities. (file photo)
A court in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where lawyers often come under fierce pressure from the authorities.

January 24 was the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and an opportunity to remember the many problems some Central Asian attorneys have to face.

In Central Asia, defendants have a right to an attorney, but state-appointed defenders have a reputation for half-hearted work or, in some cases, even supporting the prosecution in convicting their clients.

Being an independent lawyer willing to defend people who for some reason or another are looked upon as a nuisance or threat by the governments of the region is a hazardous occupation.

Some of these attorneys are intimidated or threatened, some are attacked, and some are imprisoned.

On this week’s Majlis podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion on the plight of lawyers in Central Asia.

This week’s guests are: Madina Akhmetova, the director of the Dignity public association based in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan; Jasmine Cameron, who is originally from Kyrgyzstan but is now a senior staff attorney at the Human Rights Center of the American Bar Association; from California, Steve Swerdlow, a longtime Central Asia watcher, recently returned from Uzbekistan, and human rights lawyer who is currently an associate professor of human rights at the University of Southern California; and from Prague, Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/majlis-podcast-lawyers-cenral-asia-dangerous-regime-pressures/31078841.html

EU: Bring Human Rights to the Top of Central Asia Agenda

16/11/20

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, should prioritize respect for human rights and the rule of law.

On November 17, 2020, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will meet remotely with foreign ministers from each of the five Central Asian countries, KazakhstanKyrgyzstanTajikistanTurkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, for the 16th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting. It is the first such gathering since Borrell took office in December 2019.

“Central Asian countries’ responses to this year’s crises would have been more effective if they had lived up to their pledges to respect rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU should be clear that greater support to the region is tied to genuine human rights reforms.”

The new EU strategy for Central Asia, adopted in 2019, equipped the EU to advocate for upholding human rights standards in the region. The strategy is based on the premise that democracy and the rule of law are necessary to make public institutions more responsive and accountable to their citizens.

[….]

Until the end of April, Tajikistan denied the existence of Covid-19 in the country. Those documenting the spread of the disease faced retaliation. Over 150 political opponents, critics, or their lawyers remain behind bars for lengthy prison terms on political grounds. Prison conditions remain abysmal; activists report widespread torture and ill-treatment in detention. Critics in exile face attacks and abusive extradition requests, and their families and relatives at home are harassed and detained. Violence against women and girls remains a serious concern.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/11/16/eu-bring-human-rights-top-central-asia-agenda

https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-urged-to-pressure-central-asian-governments-on-human-rights/30952646.html

https://uazmi.com/news/post/gS5wc11uemLwEEF4pNZYxS

https://golosadvokata.ru/ (RUSSIAN)

Kyrgyzstan: IBAHRI concerned over Kyrgyzstan lawyer Taalaigul Toktakunova punishment for discharging legal duties

March 7, 2018

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is gravely concerned by the case brought against Kyrgyz lawyer Taalaigul Toktakunova, by the General Prosecutor of the Kyrgyz Republic, that appear to align her with charges laid against one of her clients. The charges revolve around perceived attacks on the honour of former President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Sharshenovich. Consequently, Ms Toktakunova has been made to pay compensation, and has had her property and assets confiscated.

IBAHRI Co-Chair Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell commented: ‘The IBAHRI calls on the government of Kyrgyzstan to take all possible measures to ensure that lawyers can carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of intimidation, harassment or interference, in accordance with international human rights standards. For the rule of law to prosper, it is essential that individuals in Kyrgyzstan, regardless of their political affiliations, be given equal access to legal representation, and that lawyers are not associated with their clients. Lawyers should be free to defend any individual before a court of law.’

In March 2017, the General Prosecutor of Kyrgyzstan made a claim against Ms Toktakunova and her colleague Kanatbek Aziz, among others, based around alleged attacks on the reputation of then President Sharshenovich. The claim came after Ms Toktakunova, a lawyer for the political party Ata Meken, held a press conference regarding the arrest of her client, opposition party leader Omurbek Tekebayev. During the press conference, Ms Toktakunova and her colleague stated that the criminal case against Mr Tekebayev was unlawfully initiated, and that he was arrested due to confidential information he had obtained in relation to illegal activity in which President Sharshenovich had allegedly engaged.

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=8c04d98b-a13d-4250-949d-4765c577eef5

https://thediplomat.com/2018/03/international-bar-associations-human-rights-institute-voices-concern-for-kyrgyz-lawyer/

https://24.kg/english/77812_Property_of_Omurbek_Tekebayevs_lawyer_to_be_put_up_for_auction/

https://iwpr.net/global-voices/presidents-lawsuits-intimidate-kyrgyz-media

http://www.idhae.org/OBSAV-fr-wewskirg180301.htm (FRANCAIS)

China/Egypt/Kyrgystan: Orange the world Wang Yu, China

November 27, 2017

map

The 25th of every month has been designated “Orange Day” by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign called “Orange the World” takes place. Justice International together with Lawyers for Lawyers will be highlighting women-lawyers (and human rights defenders) who work to end violence against women and girls around the world. 

Ms. Wang Yu started practicing law in 2004 in Beijing. She is a member of the human rights lawyers group of China, set up in 2013. She is by far one of the few female lawyers who have remained steadfast in face of the suppressive environment for lawyer practice in China. Wang began to focus on human rights and public interest cases in 2011 and has been involved in cases of disability discrimination, religious freedom, land rights and illegal restriction of personal freedom by government and law enforcement officials, and activists’ cases.

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/13027/orange-the-world-wang-yu-china/

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/13020/orange-the-world-azza-soliman-egypt/

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/13016/orange-the-world-mukhayo-abduraupova-southern-kyrgyzstan/

Kyrgyzstan: UN Calls for Activist’s Release

April 21, 2016

A United Nations Committee has called for Kyrgyzstan to release a human rights defender, Azimjon Askarov, and to quash his conviction, Human Rights Watch said today. In a ruling published on April 21, 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Askarov, who is serving a life sentence, was arbitrarily detained, held in inhumane conditions, tortured, and otherwise mistreated without redress and was not given a fair trial.

“Kyrgyzstan shouldn’t wait another day to release Azimjon Askarov, who has been languishing in prison for six years,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The committee’s decision offers Kyrgyzstan the opportunity to finally right this grave wrong.”

Askarov, 64, is a human rights defender from southern Kyrgyzstan. For years he worked as the director of Air, a local human rights organization, and focused on documenting prison conditions and police treatment of detainees. Askarov also documented violence and looting in the town of Bazar-Korgon during an eruption of violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010.

Police arrested Askarov that month for “organizing mass disturbances” and “inciting interethnic hatred” leading to the killing of a policeman in Bazar-Korgon. In September 2010, the Bazar-Korgon District Court found Askarov guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. His conviction was upheld on appeal, despite his credible allegations of ill-treatment and torture, as well as attacks on his lawyer and hostility and violence in the courtroom that undermined his right to a fair trial.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/04/21/kyrgyzstan-un-calls-activists-release

KYRGYZSTAN: Will government defend judges, lawyers and residents from police?

November 3, 2015

A Jehovah’s Witness mother and daughter in Kyrgyzstan have been freed from house arrest, having been held since March 2013, in what a judge described as “a fabricated case”, Forum 18 News Service has learned. But NSC secret police and ordinary police 10th Department officers repeatedly illegally tried to stop the two women’s lawyers participating in the appeal hearing, and then invaded the judges’ deliberation room when they realised that the women might be set free. Under international law some of the police should not have been at liberty, as they were involved in torturing other Jehovah’s Witnesses. The two women’s defence lawyers have publicly called for the ordinary police and NSC secret police officers who openly attacked lawyers’ and judges’ independence to be investigated on criminal charges, and if guilty punished according to the law. Officials have refused to tell Forum 18 if these and other official attempts to obstruct the rule of law will be subject to investigation and criminal charges.

http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2116

Kyrgyz Republic: Supreme Court decision protects the role of lawyers and the independence of the judiciary (ICJ)

June 25, 2015

The International Commission of Jurists today welcomed the decisions by the Kyrgyz Supreme Court declaring illegal the recent government searches of the homes and offices of lawyers, and seizures of their legal files.

In three related cases, the Court upheld the findings of the Osh regional court that the searches of the homes of lawyers Valerian Vakhitov and Khusanbay Saliyev and lawyers’ offices at the NGO “Bir-Duyno-Kyrgyzstan” by officers of the State National Security Committee were contrary to Kyrgyz law.

The Supreme Court also dismissed the attempts by the Prosecutor’s Office to initiate disciplinary action against judges of the Osh regional court as a result of their decision in these cases.

http://www.icj.org/kyrgyz-republic-supreme-court-decision-protects-the-role-of-lawyers-and-the-independence-of-the-judiciary/

Kyrgyzstan: Rights Lawyers’ Office, Home Searched

Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Agency (GKNB) on March 27, 2015, searched the Osh office of Bir Duino, a well-known human rights organization and the homes of two of its lawyers, Human Rights Watch said today. The group is well known for its work on religious extremism and torture cases in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The searches were in connection with a criminal investigation involving Umar Farooq, a freelance journalist from the United States who was in Kyrgyzstan working on several stories. During the search the GKNB confiscated computers, flash drives, and other equipment that contained legal documentation in criminal cases the two lawyers, Valeryan Vakhitov and Husanbai Saliev, had been working on.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/03/31/kyrgyzstan-rights-lawyers-office-home-searched

Kyrgyzstan: Free Human Rights Defender, Ensure Fair Retrial

A Kyrgyz court on September 15, 2010, sentenced a human rights defender to life in prison for his alleged role in the June violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, following court hearings marred by violence and threats against the defense. Human Rights Watch urged the Kyrgyz government to guarantee a fair and public retrial for the rights defender, Azimjon Askarov, and his co-defendants and to free him pending the retrial.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/09/15/kyrgyzstan-free-human-rights-defender-ensure-fair-retrial