The persecution of Kamil Ruziyev drew attention to the impunity enjoyed by law enforcement.
A human rights defender in Kyrgyzstan whose work exposed widespread police torture and official indifference to domestic violence has been acquitted in a case that hung over him for more than two years.
On August 8 the state prosecutor asked a court in the city of Karakol to sentence lawyer Kamil Ruziyev to five years in jail on charges of forgery, but allow him to walk free under a government amnesty.
That the judge decided instead to acquit Ruziyev on August 12 is notable and likely a result of the local and international attention that had built around the case. Acquittals in Kyrgyzstan’s justice system are vanishingly rare.
Ruziyev has been scrapping with law enforcement for much of his career. His laser-like attention to pretrial abuses of detainees earned him no shortage of enemies in the police and security forces.
One of his most aggressive opponents, a police investigator who has since left the force, even held a gun to his head during a heated argument inside a police headquarters.
Ruziyev filed a complaint over that incident but the investigator was not punished.
In May 2020, representatives of the state national security committee arrested Ruziyev and held him in a cell without access to his lawyer for three days before putting him before a judge.