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HRW: Kyrgyz Rights Defender Faces 'Bogus' Charges After Complaining About Threats

Kyrgyz rights activist Kamiljan Ruziev (aka Kamil Ruziev)
Kyrgyz rights activist Kamiljan Ruziev (aka Kamil Ruziev)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is urging Kyrgyz authorities to lift a two-month house-arrest order imposed on human rights defender Kamiljan Ruziev, drop all “bogus” charges against him, and probe allegations that security services have threatened him.

State National Security Committee (GKNB) officers arrested the activist, who is also known as Kamil Ruziev, outside the Karakol City Courthouse in northeastern Kyrgyzstan on May 29.

The court was considering a lawsuit Ruziev had filed against the GKNB and the prosecutor’s office for failing to investigate his complaint that law enforcement officers had threatened him.

"Ruziev filed formal complaints against security officers, so Kyrgyzstan’s security service responded by harassing him with a bogus criminal investigation," Mihra Rittmann, senior Central Asia researcher at HRW, said in a statement on June 4.

The authorities "should instead be carrying out a thorough and timely investigation into Ruziev’s complaint and any abuse of power by the security officials who arrested him," Rittmann added.

During a court hearing on May 31, the investigator in Ruziev's case said he was suspected of forgery. The activist was ordered to go into house arrest for two months.

Ruziev and his lawyer have appealed the ruling and filed a complaint against the GKNB for unlawful detention.

Ruziev, who heads the Karakol-based human rights organization Ventus, believes he was arrested in retribution for his human rights activities.

For the past 20 years, Ruziev has been defending the rights of prisoners and others who have complained of torture and harassment by police and government officials.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service
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