Kyrgyzstan: Ailing, jailed journalist Azimjon Askarov is allowed just six family visits and two phone calls a year (Demo)

The following is an excerpt of a 3 June 2019 CPJ blog post by Gulnoza Said, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator.

On a recent morning in Bazar-Korgon, southern Kyrgyzstan, Khadicha Askarova was giving hasty instructions to her daughter about what needed to be packed. They were about to set off: first for the capital Bishkek, some 600km from where they live, and then another 70km to a prison colony where her husband, Azimjon Askarov, was transferred in March.

But Askarov, a 68-year-old independent journalist and rights activist, shouldn’t be in jail at all. The U.N. Human Rights Committee ruled in 2016 that Askarov was subject to torture and mistreatment from the moment of his detention on June 15, 2010 to his speedy trial and subsequent imprisonment, and that he should be released immediately. CPJ’s research into his case found that the original trial was marred by irregularities and allegations of torture, mistreatment and harassment of defendants, including Askarov, and their witnesses. But Kyrgyz authorities defied the U.N. resolution and in 2017, amid international outcry, upheld his life sentence.

Conditions in the new prison are harsh. In letters home, the journalist wrote that he had run ins with the guards and that prison officials punish detainees after visiting days. His health is also deteriorating and he has limited access to medication, the journalist’s wife, Askarova, said.

Read the full blog post on CPJ’s site.

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Source: MEDIA FEED

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