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Opposition, media facing severe repressions in Kyrgyzstan

Opposition, media facing severe repressions in Kyrgyzstan

By Elnura M. Kadyrova — With the arrest of several political activists and opponents who remained critical to the policies of outgoing Kyrgyzstan President Atambayev, the human rights bodies are expressing repeated concerns that “Kyrgyzstan is becoming a police state.”

According to a number of human rights watch bodies there are reports of mass arrests, persecutions, lawsuits against independent journalists and opposition circle which dated to uncover the corruption scandals of present administration.

Despite severe reprisal actions a section of media and columnist continue to uncover the internal failures and rising nepotism within the country.

According to Human Rights Watch 2017 Report, Kyrgyz authorities failed to implement a March 2016 decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and called for immediate release of human rights defender Azimjon Askarov. The PEN International also made an urgent appeal early this year calling on Kyrgyz authorities to immediately and unconditionally release journalist and human rights activist Azimjon Askarov and drop all charges against him.

Askarov, a member of Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbek minority, spent his career exposing corruption. He was arrested during the inter-ethnic conflict that swept Osh and Jalal-Abad in June 2010 and convicted, on 15 September 2010, on charges of complicity in murder and “inciting hatred” through his reporting.

Independent observers claim that the outgoing President’s Atambayev and his close associate continue to retain power through successor Sooronbay Jeenbekov.  Opposition members claim that President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev continues to put pressure on his rivals to dismantle the Opposition and strengthen its influence, regardless of Constitutional legitimacy for Opposition.

???????????????????According to Opposition sources among those arrested or restricted include the members of the opposition movement “Al Unu” (The Voice of the People) Bektur Asanov, Kubanychbek Kadyrov, Ernest Karybekov, Dastan Sarygulov, the leaders of the so-called “People’s Parliament” Bekbolot Talgarbekov, Tolubay Kolubaev, Marat Sultanov, Alexander Gusev, Toigonbek Kalmatov.

The last wave of opposition figures repression in Kyrgyzstan can be conditionally divided into three stages. The first stage began in the spring of 2016 with the case of members of the Al Unu movement about an attempt to seize power. The second stage began in the winter of this year and was associated with the pre-election elimination of opponents (the Tekebayev case, Zhaparov case). The third stage is the persecution of journalists, human rights activists and the free media.

The bank accounts of Azattyk (Radio of Freedom) and Zanoza.kg Internet portals were arrested for the criticism of the current authorities and the truthful coverage of what is happening in the country.

More recently, the only opposition television channel “September” founded by the above-mentioned Tekebayev the main opponent of Almazbek Atambaev, was also closed down in Kyrgyzstan.

In September, 2017 editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Uchur” Zulpukar Sapanov was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. “The verdict against the journalist can be described as a return to the Inquisition”, Kyrgyz Ombudsman K. Otorgbaev said. He was convicted for his critical views and sentenced by the court of inciting inter-ethnic and inter-religious hostilities through the book “The Rodoslaw Forefather of Kydyr”, published by him last year.

Meanwhile for the past 5 years dozens of well-known criminal authorities and members of the organized criminal group of Kyrgyzstan were released from the prisons without fulfilling the constitutional obligations.

As part of a new campaign of nepotism, brother of Kyrgyzstan’s president-elect, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, has been appointed as Kyrgyzstan’s new ambassador to Ukraine bye-passing the senior most diplomats in Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is again the outgoing President Almazbek Atambaev who signed the official order on November 16, 2017 to appoint Jusupbek Sharipov as Bishkek’s ambassador to Kyiv. His terms have expired as he had been serving as Ambassador to Kuwait since 2013.

Summing up I want to recall that the most important principle of democracy and classical liberalism is – “before the law, everyone is equal”. But unfortunately it appears that in Kyrgyzstan it has been amended as “before lawlessness the especial men are equal.”

The worsening situation at home is also disturbing for several liberal minded Kyrgyz officials, opposition members and intellectuals who are now considering political asylum in the Western states particularly the U.S., Canada and European states.

Hiding behind the screen of pseudo-democracy, the authorities of Kyrgyzstan are committing serious violations of human rights and Opposition members are warning that “patience of the Kyrgyz people may soon run out” and waiting for revenge once the darkness are over.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The views and comments expressed in the write-up reflect the author’s opinions and observation and are not necessarily the views of the publisher and editor of tvi.com.pk

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