Chairwoman Hautala wrote today to the Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan calling for prompt release of Human Rights Defender Azimjan Askarov, who was arrested in Bazar Korgon on 15 June 2010. [:]
HE Mr Jyrgalbek Kumarovich AZYLOV
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Rue de l’Abbaye 47, Belgium-1050 Bruxelles
As you might imagine, the European Parliament is very concerned about the situation in your country. In addition to manifold general violations of human rights from many quarters we are now receiving information that specific Human Rights Defenders are under threat for monitoring human rights abuses.
You might know that the EU has specific guidelines to assist human rights defenders. I am writing to you today regarding Human Rights Defender Mr Azimjan Askarov. We have received information that he was arrested in Bazar Korgon, in the Jalalabad region of Kyrgyzstan, on 15 June 2010. Azimjan Askarov is a prominent human rights defender and director of the human rights organisation “Vozdukh” (Air) based in Bazar Korgon.
We understand that on the evening of 15 June 2010, Azimjan Askarov was detained by representatives of Bazar Korgon police department. He is reportedly suspected of taking part in ethnic hostilities between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the south of Kyrgyzstan. Azimjan Askarov had been working on documenting the human rights violations committed in this region: for some days previous to his detention, he had been collecting data about those who had been killed and injured during the recent ethnic conflict. According to Ms Valentina Gritsenko, chairwoman of the NGO ”Spravedlivost” (Justice) based in Jalalabad, Azimjan Askarov had obtained video footage of atrocities which had taken place, and the police were aware of that.
Several NGOs believe that the arrest and detention of Mr Azimjan Askarov are directly related to his peaceful activities in the defence of human rights during the humanitarian catastrophe which Kyrgyzstan is currently facing.
I would be grateful if you could urgently come back to me on this case and would ask your authorities to release Mr Askarov as a matter of urgency.
Chairwoman of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights