More than nine years after sentencing Azimjon Askarov to life in prison, Kyrgyzstan continues to resist international calls for his immediate release. After the U.N. Human Rights Committee called on Kyrgyzstan to release Askarov because of his unjust detention, Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court in July 2016 ordered a retrial, but it ended in early 2017 with his sentence upheld. In July 2019, a provincial court again upheld his life sentence.

Askarov, a contributor to independent news websites including Voice of Freedom and director of the local human rights group Vozdukh (Air), was convicted in September 2010 on charges that included incitement to ethnic hatred and complicity in the murder of a police officer. The charges were filed amid ethnic violence that swept southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek, was documenting human rights violations in his hometown of Bazar-Korgon during the unrest.

At the 2019 International Press Freedom Awards, guests can speak up for Azimjon by writing him a message of support or solidarity.

Using the template below, you can share your own message for Azimjon, reminding him that he is not alone.

CPJ will gather all the messages to share with Azimjon and his family. Messages of support submitted here may be shared anonymously on social media using the hashtag #FreeAzimjon

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