A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, 13 May 2020 at 2:00 p.m. in the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, to consider the cassation of the human rights defender

Май 12.2020


Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”

A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, 13 May 2020 at 2:00 p.m. in the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, to consider the cassation of the human rights defender, prisoner of conscience Azimzhan Askarov, against the judgment of the Chui Oblast Court dated 24 January 2017.

The defense and Azimzhan Askarov himself are ready to submit to the judicial board all the arguments on the importance and urgency of the implementation of the Views of the Human Rights Committee dated 31 March 2016 by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The case of handling of the complaint of the torture victim Azimzhan Askarov has demonstrated to the world the refusal of the former authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic to execute the Views of the UN Human Rights Committee regarding his immediate release from prison.

Article 6 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic establishes that the State is bound by international treaties, which complies with article 31 of the Law on international treaties of the Kyrgyz Republic and the first articles of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. By virtue of these regulations, international treaties of the Kyrgyz Republic are subject to mandatory and strict observance in accordance with international law.

The provisions of the International Covenant should be interpreted and applied by the Kyrgyz Republic in accordance with the practice of the UN Human Rights Committee. The UN Human Rights Committee determines if there is a violation of the Covenant, and States parties are required to faithfully implement the Committee's Views within the framework of their voluntary commitments. Therefore, the right to an effective remedy put forth in article 2 of the Covenant presumes that the State party faithfully provides for re-examination of cases, as long as this is in accordance with the Committee's Views, in order to restore the rights of those who applied to the Committee.

The fact that the case of Azimzhan Askarov was sent for a new consideration in 2016 did not help to eliminate the violations of human rights that were committed, despite the direct statement of the Human Rights Committee in the Views dated 31 March 2016. Azimzhan Askarov, a prisoner of conscience, has not been released. The violation of article 7 on the prohibition of torture has not been rectified: an effective investigation into the facts of torture has not been carried out, although the investigation has been consistently required by the UN bodies. 

During the proceedings, Azimzhan Askarov was held in an iron cage, shackled and handcuffed, which directly violates the prohibition of inhuman treatment and the presumption of innocence, as enshrined in article 26 of the Kyrgyz Constitution. The Chui Oblast Court considered the case within the same framework as the Bazar-Korgon District Court in 2010. 

As a result, the violated right of Azimzhan Askarov to an effective judicial defense, put forward in article 2 of the Covenant, was not restored.

This opinion is also shared by the International Commission of Jurists, which concluded that the trial in the Chui regional court did not restore the rights of the victim of torture Askarov. The legal opinion was signed by leading experts in international human rights law. Those include Sir Nicolas Bratza, who has been a judge and president of the European Court of Human Rights for many years; Professor Juan Mendez, a former UN Special Rapporteur on torture who has visited the Kyrgyz Republic; as well as judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa Azhar Kachalia, who had been fighting against apartheid for many years. Their joint opinion is highly respected in the international community (see: http://birduino.kg/pressaru/kyirgyizstan-dolzhen-vyipolnit-svoi-obyazatelstva-v-oblasti-prav-cheloveka-i-osvobodit-pravozashhitnika-azimzhana-askarova,-schitaet-ekspert-oon).

In the framework of international legal procedures, the fact of non-compliance with the Views of the Human Rights Committee in the case of Azimzhan Askarov is undeniably confirmed by the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2018 and the Universal Periodic Review of the Kyrgyz Republic in January 2020.

According to paragraph 4, part 1 of Article 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Supreme Court has the right to cancel the sentence and terminate the criminal prosecution if the provisions of the General Part of the Criminal Code are violated. Since Article 1 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic refers to international law, a violation of the international law will give the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic grounds to satisfy the cassation appeal of Azimzhan Askarov.

The Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”, together with a network of solidarity partners around the world, expresses its confidence that justice and humanity for prisoners with special needs, including the prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov, will prevail, especially during the pandemic. Thereby the Kyrgyz Republic will confirm its commitment to the universal fundamental values of human rights and freedoms.

Journalists who need accreditation, as well as representatives of civil society and international organizations who wish to participate in the proceedings as observers should get in touch with the Supreme Court. Contact details of the press center of the Supreme Court: + 996 312 66 32 05, pressa@sot.kg.


For further information regarding the case of Askarov, please, contact us by mobile: +996 773 40 72 93, or email: birduinokyrgyzstan@gmail.com


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Feedback from our focus groups



Experience should be attached to a law degree

Shakhboz Latipov, 24 y.o., young lawyer: “When I came to BDK for an internship, I had no experience in legal and human rights activities. Together with experienced senior colleagues, I began to attend trials, studied documents. Gradually my supervisor Khusanbai Saliev began to trust me the preparation of documents, carefully checked them and gave practical advice. Experience comes with time and cases you work on. Every day dozens of people who need help come to us, many of them are from socially vulnerable groups: the poor, large families, elderly citizens. A lawyer in a human rights organization sometimes acts as a psychologist, it is important for him to be able to maintain professionalism and show empathy. At the end of 2019, I successfully passed the exam to get the right to start working as attorney and now I work on cases as an attorney. I turn to my colleagues for help on complex issues, they always give me their advice. This is one of the strengths of the organization: there is support and understanding here.”



Organization unites regions

Feruza Amadalieva, social worker, leader, teacher: “TOT from BDK is a great opportunity to get acquainted with participants from different regions, we continue to communicate on social media and when we meet at events, as close friends, we have such warm relations! At the events, I improved my knowledge, systematized it, clarified how to apply it in practice. I really like the training modules and the way the system of training and practice is built: role-playing games, theory, discussions. Each person expresses himself/herself. I have become a leader for other vulnerable women, I try to help them and engage them in such events.” Feruza Amadalieva is a regular participant of many BDK events, she invites the BDK lawyers to provide legal advice to vulnerable women.



I became confident

In summer of 2019, Nuriza Talantbek kyzy took an active part in conducting regional screenings of documentaries, helped with organizational issues during the campaign dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, participated in trips, and did the TOT on women's leadership. She used to be a migrant, worked for an NGO in Osh, and now works in Bishkek in the service industry. She calls her participation in the TOT “an invaluable experience”: “I first attended such an event, and received exactly the information that I needed, for which I am sincerely grateful to the facilitators. I experienced very difficult issues in my life, and thanks to that knowledge, I was able to overcome them, I persevered! After the TOT, I became more confident, began to better understand the essence of human rights, and learned to defend my interests.”



The defendant has passed away. The work on his rehabilitation continues.

The case of Shukurullo Kochkarov shows that work on complex cases continues for many years. After the torture he was subjected to in 2010, he became disabled. We managed to get acquittal on one of the charges; the work is ongoing on achieving his rehabilitation and recognition as a victim of torture in order for compensation to be paid. Trials continue without Shukurullo Kochkarov - he died on 2 August 2019. His interests are represented by his father, Saidaziz Kochkarov, who also has a visual disability. “For many years, we have been supported by the employees of BDK, they have been handling the case of my son, they brought him to court because he couldn’t walk on his own, they constantly help our family: my wife and I underwent rehabilitation, they have helped my son by providing him with medicines, they provide all kinds of help”.



Comprehensive support for victims of torture

Resident of the Kara-Suu district, Dilyor Jumabaev, has extensive experience in dealing with law enforcement agencies. In 2010, he was accused of possessing firearms, and thanks to the work of lawyers, he was acquitted. Two years later, his house was first searched in order to find materials of an extremist nature, but nothing was found. In 2014, he was accused of possessing extremist materials. In court, the prosecutor requested 15 years in prison; the court sentenced him to 6 years. A few years later he was released on parole. “I am grateful to the lawyers of BDK for their expert legal assistance. I participated in a rehabilitation program for victims of torture. When I encounter violations, I recommend contacting this organization.”


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