Posts Tagged ‘Azimjan Askarov’

12 human rights defenders who are not on the slopes of Sochi

February 9, 2014

FLD launches Olympics campaign on 12 human rights defenders

Front Line Defenders launched an online and social media campaign to focus attention on the plight of 12 human rights defenders (HRDs) from Eastern Europe and Central Asia coinciding with the launch of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The ‘Rights. Risks. Change!’ campaign (www.sportshrd.org) calls on the public to take solidarity action to support these 12 defenders and to pressure local officials to respect the work of HRDs.

All 12 of the HRDs highlighted in the campaign have displayed great courage and integrity in their work on a range of human rights issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Threats against organisers of human rights film festival over documentary on HRD Azimjan Askarov detained in Kyrgyzstan

October 3, 2013

On the morning of 19 September 2013, a group of unidentified women threatened and harassed the organisers of human rights film festival “Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan” (One World Kyrgyzstan) demanding that the documentary about imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov  – produced by Freedom House –should not be projected. The film festival opened in Bishkek on 18 September 2013. The annual film festival is organised by human rights group Bir-Duino Kyrzystan, led by human rights defender Ms Tolekan Ismailova, the director of Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’.

Azimjan Askarov is a human rights defender who spent 25 years documenting human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan until his arrest in 2010. He is currently serving a life sentence after an unfair trial during which he was beaten in detention and denied access to his lawyer. The film festival organisers do not share the opinion of some politicians that he film could provoke inter-ethnic clashesFrontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

[On 28 September 2012, at previous festival edition, the organisers were banned from screening a documentary on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Islamic world, after a complaint was lodged by the Prosecutor’s Office, which considered the film to be “extremist, inciting religious hatred and aimed at dishonouring Muslims”. Following this decision, Tolekan Ismailova was targeted with a defamation campaign in the media and the Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’ received threats. Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on this case on 19 October 2012 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/20249, and an update on 4 December 2012 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/21003%5D

Kyrgyz President says no need for ‘foreign agent law’

September 19, 2013

Further to my earlier blog post about Kyrgyzstan following the bad example of Russia in trying to create a ‘foreign agents’ obstacle for human rights defenders, I am happy to refer to Front Line latest update of 19 September 2013 which says that during a press interview on the outcomes of his working visit to Brussels on 17 September 2013, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev stated to journalists that Kyrgyzstan does not need a “foreign agent” law, a draft bill of which was opened for public discussion on 6 September 2013.

On 16 September 2013, ahead of President Atambaev’s visit to Brussels, Front Line Defenders and Human Rights Watch published a joint letter to the European Union urging EU leaders to raise concerns about human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan and getting specific commitments from President Atambaev to address them. The letter also contained an appeal to the EU to press the Kyrgyz President for the immediate release of the wrongfully imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/09/15/kyrgyzstan-free-human-rights-defender-ensure-fair-retrial as well as on the draft bill http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/23774Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped