New York, July 12, 2016 - Kyrgyz prosecutors should drop all charges against Azimjon Askarov and ensure the journalist's immediate release, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
CPJ calls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to use her upcoming visit to Kyrgyzstan to call on officials there to release the imprisoned journalist and human rights defender Azimjon Askarov. The U.N. Human Rights Committee found in April 2016 that Kyrgyzstan is obligated to free Askarov, quash his conviction, and pay him compensation for unjust imprisonment. Chancellor Merkel is scheduled to visit Kyrgyzstan on July 13 and 14.
On July 11, the Kyrgyzstan Supreme Court will hear a petition for the release of Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and human rights defender who is serving a life sentence in prison. This week, CPJ and Human Rights Watch jointly called on Kyrgyzstan authorities to fully abide by an April 21 ruling by the U.N. Human Rights Committee that Askarov, a recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, be freed without delay.
New York, April 25, 2016--Kyrgyz authorities should immediately and fully comply with the U.N. Human Rights Committee's calls to free imprisoned journalist Azimjon Askarov, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court announced in a statement on its website today that if Askarov requests a review of his case, the Kyrgyz constitution obliges the court to hear it, in light of findings announced Friday by the U.N. Human Rights Committee.
In a milestone decision announced today in Geneva, the U.N. Human Rights Committee called on Kyrgyzstan to immediately release Azimjon Askarov, a journalist sentenced to life in prison in September 2010. The U.N. body issued its decision after reviewing a complaint filed in November 2012 by Askarov's lawyer, Nurbek Toktakunov, and a team of experts from the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative.
This month, the prosecutor-general of Kyrgyzstan, Aida Salyanova, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that her office is working hard to fight corruption and ensure transparency in government activities.
We are not convinced.
New York, June 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Bishkek City Court's refusal to open a new investigation into the case of Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and human rights defender who has been imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan since 2010 in retaliation for his work exposing wrongdoing. The court scrapped today an earlier decision by a lower Bishkek court, which had ruled that the journalist's case should be reinvestigated. Askarov's lawyer has said he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, reports said.
New York, April 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists commends today's decision by Oktyabrsky District Court in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, to renew the investigation into the case of imprisoned journalist and rights defender Azimjon Askarov, who was imprisoned in 2010 in retaliation for his work exposing official wrongdoing.
Today, the U.N. Human Rights Committee begins its two-day review of Kyrgyzstan's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By ratifying the treaty in October 1994, Kyrgyz authorities pledged to enforce internationally recognized provisions regarding the protection of human rights, and freedom of expression, in their country.
But CPJ research shows that Kyrgyzstan has consistently violated ICCPR provisions. Attacks against reporters; impunity in journalist murders, including of journalist Alisher Saipov; blocking of the news website Ferghana News; the politicized prosecution of ethnic Uzbek media owners, including Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev of Mezon TV and Khalil Khudaiberdiyev of Osh TV; and the ongoing imprisonment of investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov have marred the climate of press freedom in Kyrgyzstan.
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