Every year in Kyrgyzstan, the fight against religious extremism intensifies, and it is not uncommon to see, that activities are hidden behind it, that are carried out to suppress the rights of ordinary believers and ethnic minorities, to persecute human rights defenders and specifically our organization "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan", which protects vulnerable citizens from ethnic minorities, believers accused of extremism.
Religious persecution. Article 299-2.
The majority of criminal cases connected with religious extremism, where employees of HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" provided legal assistance, are related to article 299-2 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic – the one on storage or dissemination of extremist material. In almost all of these cases, religious information materials that allegedly were found during a search were presented to substantiate the charges.
As a basis for charges in these criminal cases, the conclusions of a religious expert examination were presented, made by non-professional staff of the State Commission for Religious Affairs. None of the criminal cases that our organization worked on, brought a judicial decision on recognition of the alleged material as extremist, i.e. people were convicted and are being convicted at the moment for the storage of allegedly prohibited extremist materials, although these materials were not prohibited.
Despite the recommendations of human rights defenders on the unconstitutionality of the Article 299-2 of the Criminal Code, the State Committee for National Security of KR, the General Prosecutor's Office of KR and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of KR extensively use this article of the Criminal Code of KR to persecute dissidents, journalists and human rights activists as well as ethnic minorities.
Rashod Kamalov’s case. On October 7, 2015 the Kara-Suu district court recognized imam Rashod Kamalov as guilty of inciting to religious hatred, as well as of storage and dissemination of extremist materials, and imposed a five-year prison sentence in a settlement colony. Then the prosecutor's office submitted an appeal to increase the prison term. Therefore, on November 24 the Osh regional court increased the length of punishment to 10 years of imprisonment. On September 14, 2016 The Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic rejected the appeal of the lawyers and upheld the sentence of the Osh regional court.
Abdullokh Nurmatov. In 2015, a resident of Kara-Suu Abdullokh Nurmatov was accused of extremism and forced by torture to give his password to his page in the social network Odnoklassniki. Nurmatov did not plead guilty, and all his activity in social networks was "liking" the materials on cases of Dilier Dzhumabaev convicted for extremism and photos of imam Rashod Kamalov. In May 2016 the Osh City Court found Nurmatov guilty of distributing extremist materials, and sentenced him to three years in prison with application of suspended sentence with a probation period of 1 year. Two months later the court of second instance upheld the verdict. On April 10 this year, the Supreme Court conducted a supervisory review and upheld the previous sentence.
Illegal seizures and extortions
After the events in June 2010, an illegal seizure of 3.1 hectares of land belonging to entrepreneur Gafurzhan Dadazhanov was performed. The investigation established that the head of the village council Mamasaly Narbaev, the head of the village Baryn Janysh Abduvapov and the specialist of the regional department of architecture Mahamadkhalil Baidavlatov participated in the seizure of property. They divided the plot into 33 parts and distributed them to people. Criminal proceedings were initiated based on this fact and judicial hearings are being held. He is still suing to regain this disputed plot of land.
Shavkat Baibabaev is the owner of a cherry orchard in Aravan district of Osh oblast. Security service officials demanded a bribe from Shavkat in amount of 20 thousand US dollars (over one million soms), in exchange for them not hindering the harvesting. Baibabaev said that he refused to give a bribe, and therefore he suffered losses of approximately two million soms (about 40 thousand US dollars). About 12 tons of crops remained unharvested. In 2016, the Military Court of the Osh garrison acquitted the officials of law enforcement agencies who were extorting the bribe.
Threats to human rights defenders
Human Rights Advocacy Center. In 2014 the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) initiated a criminal case against the Human Rights Advocacy Center, which conducted its work in cooperation with the American human rights organization Freedom House. The purpose of the project was to monitor the implementation of civil rights of ethnic minorities in Batken and Jalal-Abad oblasts. The criminal investigation against the Advocacy Center was conducted during the period of KR’s active participation in the Eurasian integration processes. Recently, Kyrgyzstan has also been copying Russia’s actions in terms of social and political issues.
Persecution of HRM “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”
The offices of HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" have been robbed twice, which was connected with the attacks of nationalists and control performed by the special services over the "Bir Duino" activities during the trials of the well-known human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov in 2013.
Searches conducted in 2015:
1) On March 26, 2015 the Osh city court issued a warrant authorizing a search in the Osh office of HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan";
2) On March 27, 2015 Osh city court issued a warrant authorizing a search in the houses of lawyers of HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" V. Vakhitov and Kh. Saliev;
3) On March 27, 2015 investigators of OSCNS of Osh and Osh region A. Dzhenbaev and A. Shadybekov conducted searches at the work places as well as homes of lawyers V. Vakhitov and Kh. Saliev (HRM "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan"). Four laptops, flash cards, dictaphones, disks, etc. containing data on more than 100 lawyer cases were seized during the searches;
4) On April 30, 2016 the Osh oblast court abolished the warrants of the Osh city court to conduct searches, did not permit the investigators of the SCNS to conduct the searches.
5) On May 18, 2015 the Osh city court recognized the refusal to return the attorney's materials (21 disks) as illegal and unjustified; it also recognized the appointed religious expert examination of the seized attorney's materials as illegal and unjustified;
6) On June 22 and 24, 2015 the Supreme Court upheld the refusal to grant permission for conducting a search at the offices of Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (BDK) and its lawyers.
On withdrawal of the brochure published by BDK (2016):
1) Within the framework of the project on improvement of the situation on the roads, a social project was implemented to improve knowledge of traffic rules and to protect violated rights. As a result, brochures were published in the Russian, Kyrgyz and Uzbek languages. On April 7, 2016 A. Sydykov, Senior investigator from the Osh City Department of Internal Affairs, seized the brochure in the Uzbek language from the car of the BDK’s employee under the pretext that the publication in Uzbek was not permitted. He did not present any claims regarding the similar materials in the Kyrgyz and Russian languages.
2) On June 23, 2016 the Osh city court recognized the actions of the investigator of the Osh City Department of Internal Affairs A. Sydykov on seizure of BDK’s brochures as lawful and justified. The court refused to recognize withdrawal of the BDK’s brochures in Uzbek as discrimination, but ordered to return the seized brochures in the Uzbek language to Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan.
Regarding the false information of the SCNS (2017-2018):
1) On January 24, 2017 a press release of the State Committee for National Security stating that during the search in the house of the person under investigation, materials related to the activities of the NGO Bir Duino were found. In the course of ongoing search operations, representatives of this non-governmental organization gathered the local population at the moment of arrest of A.Sh. to prevent the search at his place of residence and tried to provoke a conflict situation.
I.e. they accused BDK and its employees of committing a crime.
2) On October 30, 2017, the Pervomaisky District Court of Bishkek, in its ruling, recognized that the information disseminated in the press release of the OSCNS was untrue and ordered the department to refute them in mass media.
3) On October 30, 2017 the Bishkek City Court overturned the decision of the Pervomaisky District Court of Bishkek and dismissed the claim of the head of BDK T. Ismailova to the State Committee for National Security.
4) On June 20, 2018 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in cassation submitted by the head of BDC T. Ismailova, thus rejecting the complaint filed by BDK against the OSCNS.
Entering into the list of extremist materials
In March 2018, during review of the official website of the Ministry of Justice of KR, a list of extremist materials was found in the “Activities” section. Upon careful examination, it was revealed that in the document entitled "List of legal entities and Internet sites banned on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic" item No. 26 contained the following information in the column "Name of legal entity (organization)": "Report of Anti-discrimination Center "Memorial" presented together with "Human Rights Movement: Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan" and the human rights organization "Freedom House" titled: "A Chronicle of Violence: The events in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (Osh Region)", in the column "Grounds for including a legal entity in the List": "Decision of Oktyabrskyi District Court of Bishkek as of 05.01.2017", and in the final column: "Category of legal entity (organization)" it is indicated: "Extremist". Bir Duino for a long time had no opportunity to get acquainted with the Court's decision and the case materials. Currently, a lawyer is working on protecting the organization.