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Majlis Podcast: Squeezing The Space For Central Asia's Exiles


Kazakh oligarch and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov arrives under police protection at the courthouse in the central French city of Lyon in October 2014.

Governments in Central Asia continue to use, and some would say abuse, the right to appeal to international law enforcement agencies to apprehend citizens of Central Asian states who have fled their homeland and then were portrayed by their governments as criminals.

For example, there are hundreds of cases where Central Asian governments have alerted Interpol about their fugitive citizens and officially requested they be detained and extradited. In many cases the charges against these exiles are dubious. But even if they are not extradited, an Interpol warrant hinders exiles' movements and complicates efforts to make a new life in another country.

The University of Exeter's website hosts the Central Asian Political Exiles (CAPE) database, which looks at "the extra-territorial security measures deployed by the five Central Asian states and the human rights threats abuses and concerns faced by individuals in exile and opposition movements abroad."

Leading Central Asian scholars from several universities, and organizations such as Amnesty International, Fair Trials International, the Memorial human rights center, the Civic Assistance Committee, Human Rights Watch, and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia take part in the project.

In late June, the updated findings of the project were presented at Chatham House, the U.K. Parliament, and the University of Exeter.

To learn more about what the project has found and revealed, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion on the CAPE project. Our guests were all involved in putting together the database.

From the University of Exeter we were joined by John Heathershaw, who is one of the directors of the CAPE project. Maisy Weicherding from Amnesty International also joined from the United Kingdom, while Natalia Gontsova of the Civic Assistance Committee participated from Moscow.

Majlis Podcast: Squeezing The Space For Central Asia's Exiles
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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 some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change. Content will draw 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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