Warsaw, 19 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan presented yesterday a horrifying picture of human rights violations in his country and said the situation there is even worse than it had been in the former Soviet Union.
Ramazan Dyryldayev told a human rights conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that the political opposition is oppressed and thrown into prisons or labor camps.
He cited examples of torture such as beating or fitting a victim with a gas mask and cutting off oxygen.
Dyryldayev said Kyrgyzstan authorities are ignoring the international documents they signed dealing with respect of human rights.
"The last three years have been marked with a drastic increase of violations of basic human rights, freedom of the mass media and information and freedom of association," he said.
Dyryldayev cited an example of Tpochubek Turgunalive, the leader of "Erkin Kyrgyzstan" opposition political party, who is serving a prison term for alleged embezzlement of state property.
"He is being deprived of his right to get necessary medical treatment," Dyryldayev said.
He said freedom of press is suppressed and journalists can not present the truth about their country.
When Yrysbek Omurzakov wrote a report about the bad conditions for workers in plant, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Dyryldayev subsequently told RFE/RL that Kyrgyz authorities freed the journalist from prison when the U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton began her recent tour of the region.
Dyryldayev said President Askar Akayev is "a smart politician who knows how to present himself in the West as a fighter for democratic freedoms."
"He knows how to cheat and the people of Kyrgyzstan have begun to be aware of it," he said.
Dyryldayev described Akayev as being more dictatorial than the president of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
He said Lukashenka is openly oppressive against the opposition while Akayev discreetly orders the courts to pass severe sentences to create appearances of being a "good man".
Dyryldayev said the Kyrgyz judiciary is guided by the old Soviet criminal code, adopted in 1961. As a result, the Kyrgyz constitution and international agreements, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights or its declaration against torture, have no application in the country.