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Majlis Podcast: Kyrgyzstan Backtracks On Human Rights And Freedom Of The Press


Azimjan Askarov is seen in a prison in Bishkek in December 2011. He died in prison on July 25, 2020.

When ethnic Uzbek activist and rights defender Azimjon Askarov was arrested after the interethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010, there were questions about the motives for charging Askarov with serious crimes connected to that violence.

Later, many more questions arose about the trial process, which saw Askarov convicted, as well as his treatment in prison amid reports of his deteriorating health.

July 25 marked one year since Askarov’s death in prison.

Attempts to exonerate Askarov posthumously have so far failed. But a Kyrgyz court on July 27 did overturn a decision that had halted an investigation into whether prison authorities were negligent in providing health-care treatment to Askarov.

On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion about Askarov’s case and also the recent passing of a controversial new Kyrgyz bill that lawmakers say is aimed at stopping the spread of fake news online but which activists say is merely an attempt to muzzle free speech.

This week's guests are, from Bishkek, Syinat Sultanalieva, a Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch who focuses on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; and, from Prague, Bruce Pannier, the author of RFE/RL's Qishloq Ovozi blog.

Kyrgyzstan Backtracks On Human Rights And Freedom Of The Press
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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