EU on the conviction of human rights defender Azimjan Askarov

State­ment by the spokesper­son of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton on the con­vic­tion of human rights defend­er Azim­jan Askarov
The spokesper­son of High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Policy/Vice Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion Cather­ine Ash­ton issued a fol­low­ing state­ment today:
“The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton is deeply con­cerned by the con­vic­tion of Kyr­gyz human rights defend­er Azim­jan Askarov to a life sen­tence and con­fis­ca­tion of his prop­er­ty, in the light of the man­i­fest vio­la­tions of his right to a fair tri­al. This rul­ing sends a neg­a­tive sig­nal with regards to the sit­u­a­tion of human rights defend­ers in the coun­try and runs counter to ongo­ing efforts towards inter-eth­nic reconciliation.

High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive remains seri­ous­ly con­cerned by reports that Mr Askarov was ill-treat­ed while in police cus­tody and that his lawyer and rel­a­tives were harassed. She wish­es to remind the Kyr­gyz author­i­ties of their oblig­a­tions to inves­ti­gate alle­ga­tions of tor­ture in an impar­tial and prompt man­ner and to pro­tect human rights defend­ers in light of the com­mit­ments freely under­tak­en by Kyr­gyzs­tan under inter­na­tion­al and domes­tic law.

Should Mr Askarov decide to appeal, HR urges the author­i­ties to do every­thing in their pow­er to ensure that his right to a fair tri­al is respect­ed, and that the safe­ty of the defen­dants, their rel­a­tives and their lawyers and the impar­tial­i­ty of the pro­ceed­ings is ensured.

Mr Askarov and his non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tion “Air”, have car­ried out impor­tant work in doc­u­ment­ing prison con­di­tions and the treat­ment of detainees by police in the Jalal-Abad province, and recent­ly record­ed the vio­lent inci­dents that took place in the region dur­ing the June events.

The EU attend­ed the full pro­ceed­ings of the tri­al, and has reg­u­lar­ly raised the case of Mr Askarov with the author­i­ties. The EU will con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor the over­all sit­u­a­tion of human rights defend­ers in Kyrgyzstan.” 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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