Freedom from torture. Compliance with the lawИюн 24.2021
Press release issued by Human Rights Movement "Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan",
timed to coincide with June 26, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and Ill-treatment
Since 2018, Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan has been implementing the project "Protecting the rights of victims of torture and ill-treatment" with the support of the UN Voluntary Fund. Thanks to the long-term help, legal assistance of the high quality is available to vulnerable citizens in the form of consultations received by phone, online and in person, as well as through assistance in drafting documents, when interacting with the government agencies and representing the interests of citizens at the stage of investigation and in the courts of Kyrgyzstan. When national mechanisms are exhausted, victims of torture receive legal advice in preparation of complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee.
Within a year, the organization carries out work on 16-20 strategic trials with the aim of bringing to justice individuals involved in acts of torture and receiving compensation. This is a complex, systematic and long-term work that requires deep knowledge in the field of jurisprudence and high commitment of lawyers.
Annually, about 200 citizens approach the organization's offices in Osh and Bishkek requesting assistance on issues of protection from torture and ill-treatment. Last year, due to the spread of coronavirus and quarantine, the number of requests slightly decreased. In comparison: 54 consultations were provided in the first six months of 2020, and 69 consultations in the same period of 2021. The number of women applied has increased. Relatives of convicts subjected to torture and ill-treatment often seek help. Of the total number of applicants, 50% are relatives (in comparison, last year relatives comprised 44% of the total number of applicants). By ethnic nationality, the majority are Uzbek; the number of applications from citizens of Kyrgyz nationality has been increasing.
When investigating the case on acts of torture, there is a number of systemic barriers associated with the specifics of national legislation. According to the article 155 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, pre-trial proceedings in criminal cases should be completed no later than 2 months from the date of notification of the person who is suspected in committing a crime. This rule enables the investigation officials to delay the pre-trial proceedings for an indefinite period. Besides, the lawyers underline the issues of quality of forensic, which affect the course of further investigation. In practice, less serious charges are used, for example, exceeding of authority instead of abuse of authority. Despite these and other difficulties, the work to protect citizens’ rights does not stop.
Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan closely cooperates with state human rights institutions, public organizations and legal community. With the assistance of the BDK partners, in particular, the PF “Voice of Freedom”, the victims of torture and their family members have the opportunity to undergo full rehabilitation.
Human rights defenders call for the manifestation of intolerance to torture and ill-treatment. It is necessary to promote the Mandella’s principles in closed institutions to prevent violations of citizens’ fundamental rights.
Joining efforts in the fight against torture contributes to the formation of an independent judiciary, ensures justice and equal access to the protection of citizens’ rights, excluding discrimination and violence.
Organization website: www.birduino.kg