WARSAW, 11 November 2010 – The Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, today encouraged Kyrgyzstan’s authorities to ensure full compliance with fair trial standards in the case of human rights defender Azimjan Askarov and other trials related to the June violence in the south of the country.
An appeals court yesterday upheld the 15 September verdict of a lower court, which sentenced Askarov to life imprisonment and confiscation of his property on charges of organizing mass disorder and inciting inter-ethnic hatred.
ODIHR monitors at the first instance trial and appeal proceedings noted that the authorities failed to make adequate efforts to address repeated instances of verbal abuse, including death threats, directed at the lawyers and the defendant, as well as an instance of physical attack against one of the lawyers. This added to an atmosphere of fear and intimidation surrounding many of the cases related to the June violence, in particular those involving ethnic Uzbek defendants. (more…)