Kyrgyz

CPJ Urges Kyrgyzstan to Drop Trial of 11 Journalists

Kyrgyz Authorities Urged to Drop Charges Against Journalists by CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is calling on Kyrgyz authorities to immediately drop all charges against 11 current and former staff of Temirov Live, ahead of an unprecedented trial set to open on Friday. The CPJ is also urging an end to the harassment of independent press outlets in the country.

According to Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, issuing prison sentences for the journalists would be a major blow to Kyrgyzstan’s reputation as an “island of democracy” in Central Asia. The charges against the Temirov Live staff are viewed as trumped-up and are causing international concern.

The trouble began on January 16 when the offices of Temirov Live were raided and editorial equipment was seized. Subsequently, 11 current and former employees were detained by the police, following a forensic linguistic examination of their social media content which led to criminal proceedings being initiated under article 278, part 3 of the Criminal Code for “calling for riots.”

The detained journalists include Makhabat Tazhibek Kyzy, Sapar Akunbekov, Azamat Ishenbekov, Saipidin Sultanaliev, Aktilek Kaparov, Tynystan Asypbekov, Maksat Tazhibek uulu, Zhoodar Buzumov, Zhumabek Turdaliev, Aike Beishekeeva, and Akyl Orozbekov. All of them are either current or former employees of Temirov Live and are currently facing two months of detention.

Some of the journalists were later placed under house arrest by the court, while others were released with written undertakings not to leave the city. The situation has raised concerns about the state of press freedom in Kyrgyzstan and the potential implications of the upcoming trial on media freedom in the country.

 

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