Kyrgyzstan: Cease Harassment of Human Rights Defenders

Washington – March 30, 2015 — In response to authorities in Kyrgyzstan searching the offices of the human rights organization Bir Duino–Kyrgyzstan in the city of Osh as well as the homes of its employees on March 27, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“These searches violate Kyrgyzstan’s laws regulating investigations of lawyers and appear to target specific lawyers in retaliation for taking on controversial clients,” said Susan Corke, director of Eurasia programs. “Having the same investigators who brought charges against defendants now searching the homes of the defendants’ lawyers makes a mockery of the judicial system. This abuse of power mirrors the assault on Human Rights Advocacy Center, another prominent Kyrgyzstani human rights organization that was searched and harassed in 2014 by the same investigator at the State Committee for National Security. The Kyrgyzstani authorities should immediately end their harassment of human rights defenders.”

Kyrgyzstan is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.