Bir Duino team appreciates the initiative taken by six Members of the "Renew Europe" Group in the European Parliament

Май 20.2020

Mr Marat Zhamankulov
Minister of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic

Brussels, 15 May 2020

Dear Minister,

On 13 May 2020, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan upheld the life sentence of journalist and prominent human rights defender Azimjan Askarov.

We deeply regret this decision and ask the Kyrgyz authorities to immediately release Mr Askarov on humanitarian grounds. Mr Askarov is a 69-year old Kyrgyz citizen and ethnic Uzbek, who has been suffering for years from deteriorating health, including cardiac and respiratory problems. He did not receive appropriate medical care while in detention and is today at a
high-risk of being severely affected by Covid-19.

We have closely followed the case since Mr Askarov’s first conviction in September 2010 on charges of allegedly organising mass riots and involvement in the killing of a policeman during the ethnic tensions in southern Kyrgyzstan in June that same year. Before his arrest, Mr Azimjan Askarov had spent more than 10 years documenting cases of police brutality and mistreatment of prisoners in his hometown of Bazar-Korgon.

In March 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee declared that the Kyrgyz authorities had “arbitrarily detained, held in inhumane conditions, tortured and mistreated, and prevented [Askarov] from adequately preparing his trial defence.” and that his human rights had therefore been violated under a number of articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition, Mr Askarov’s allegations of torture while in pre-trial detention have never been properly investigated. On 9 May 2020, an amnesty has been granted to hundreds of prisoners to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War and the 2010 People’s Revolution. We welcome this decision but regret that Mr Askarov’s case has not been considered relevant.

The European Parliament has raised its concerns about the case of Mr Askarov on numerous occasions and in particular in its recommendation of 15 January 2019 and its resolution of 15 January 2015.

We therefore reiterate our call on the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that human rights defender Askarov, and other individuals detained without sufficient legal basis, are immediately released. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increased risk it poses to incarcerated elder prisoners with underlying health conditions, we hope that Kyrgyzstan will hear our appeal and commit to the principles enshrined in the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic.

Yours sincerely,

Atidzhe Alieva-Veli MEP
Vice-Chair of the EP delegation to Central Asia

Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP
Renew Europe Vice-Coordinator on Foreign Affairs Committee

Soraya Rodríguez MEP
Renew Europe Coordinator on Human Rights Subcommittee

Petras Auštrevičius MEP
Renew Europe Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Javier Nart MEP
Renew Europe Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Engin Eroglu MEP
Renew Europe Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee

CC: H.E. Mr Muktar Djumaliev, Head of the Kyrgyz Mission to the European Union


Dear friends!

Dear guests of our site!
Public Association “Human Rights Movement:
“Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan” is asking you to provide sponsorship and support in the form of a material donation!


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.”


All rights reserved © 2020

The site is developed: