Harassments against Journalists in Kyrgyzstan

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>
To: minelres-l@riga.lv
Message-Id: <34391BD4.6F40@mailbox.riga.lv>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 1997 10:11:48 -0700
Subject: Harassments against Journalists in Kyrgyzstan

From: MINELRES moderator    <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>
Original sender: Natalia Ablova <rights@imfiko.bishkek.su>
Harassments against Journalists in Kyrgyzstan
Today, 29 September,Rysbek Omurzakov(Res Publica opposition weekly) was
sentenced to six months of prison-colony for publicly libelling the
manager of the declining state enterprise( in February 1997 Omurzakov
published a critical article about the housing condition in the
workers'hostel under the new management of the once flourishing
machinery plant). The verdict was pronounced by Judge Usen Sarymsakov
from Leninskyi District Court of Bishkek after the trial which lasted
from 18 till 29 September (earlier,in May-August 1997, the case was
returned for re-investigation by three court instances).

Two co-defendants in the case, Dzhybek Akmatova and Gulina Ibraimova (as
the tenants of the workers'hostel,they supplied the journalist with the
information) received the same term but were pardoned according to the
15 August Amnesty Act. All procedural  standards were observed during
the trial but the verdict reflects the old Soviet  approach to libel as
a serious state offence. Omurzakov is going to lodge an  appeal to a
higher court.
                       *            *            *
Yesterday,28 September, a 14-years old son of Zamira Sydykova (chief
editor of Res Publica weekly) was severely beaten by the special police
squad (OMON). Allegedly,the teenager(who is now in a hospital) was
hiding from persecuting policemen during a routine weekend  police
evening raid in one of the sideway streets of Bishkek. Zamira Sydykova
who  had been nominated as a candidate to the Parliament upper chamber
vacancy told her son was hiding not because of any involvement in a
criminal misdemeanor but because of the well known and unpunished police
brutality. So far she cannot connect this incident to her political
activity but does not exclude such a possibility. The criminal
investigation was launched by the district procurator.
                       *            *              *
On 29 September Parliament member, Dooronbek Sadyrbayev, received the
official warning signed by Galina Pugatcheva, Deputy General Prosecutor
of Kyrgyzstan, saying that he might be charged with calling for the
forced overthrow of power allegedly  found in his recent publications
and interviews. During July - August 1997 Sadyrbayev expressed sharp
criticism in connection with various aspects of presidential policy, his
comments and interviews were published in Kyrgyz language newspapers
ASABA, KYRGYZ RUKHU, ORDO. Sadyrbayev  rejected the Procurator's warning
on the grounds of 1) immunity of  his status protecting him against any
persecution during his public activities; 2) the fact that Ms Pugatcheva
(not being a native Kyrgyz speaker) can hardly grasp the nuances of his
highly colloquial and emotionally coloured utterances and, therefore,
cannot provide linguistic expertise for such grave criminal charges.
                       *             *               *
On 29 September Kanybek Imanaliyev, President's spokesman, said that
eight lawsuits will be lodged by various top official (but hardly by
President Akayev himself) in connection with eight recent publications
of the latest issue of Asaba (#38) allegedly containing slander,libel or
premeditated false information directed against President Akayev, his
family,his closest advisors and aides. "There should be an end to it",
said Mr Imanaliyev to the journalists during the briefing which took
place today.
Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law
Bishkek, 29 September 1997
Natalia Ablova, Director,
Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law,
40 Manas avenue, Room 77, Bishkek 720001,
Tel.+3312 211874
Fax +3312 223924

MINELRES - discussion list on minorities in Cnetral & Eastern Europe
Submissions: minelres-l@riga.lv
Subscriptions/inquiries: minelres@mailbox.riga.lv
List archive: http://www.riga.lv/minelres/archive.htm