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Kyrgyzstan: Human Rights NGO’s call for release of Kyrgyzstan’s opposition politician Ravshan Jeenbekov

Kyrgyz­stan: Human Rights NGO’s Euras­ia Demo­cracy Ini­ti­at­ive and Free­dom for Euras­ia urge inter­na­tion­al com­munity and Kyrgyzstan’s inter­na­tion­al part­ners to press Kyrgyz­stan author­it­ies to release oppos­i­tion politi­cian Ravshan Jeen­bekov unlaw­fully held in pre­tri­al deten­tion Sizo ‑1 in Bishkek under dubi­ous charges.

Decem­ber 21, 2021

Situ­ation of Detained Oppos­i­tion Politi­cian Ravshan Jeenbekov

Kyrgyz oppos­i­tion fig­ure Ravshan Jeen­bekov is being held in Bishkek’s Sizo‑1 since Decem­ber 2019. House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee and Con­gress­men Eli­ot Engel voiced con­cern regard­ing this arrest.[1] He was first detained on Decem­ber 12, 2019 and released as a res­ult of the Octo­ber 2020 protests. On August 5, 2021 the politi­cian was thrown back in Sizo‑1 cit­ing alleged viol­a­tions of the terms of house arrest.

Bek­sultan Abbakir uulu, RFE/RL

He is facing fab­ric­ated charges under sev­en grave and espe­cially grave art­icles — host­age-tak­ing of Alpha GKNB employ­ees, organ­iz­ing mass riots and attempt­ing to seize power, organ­iz­ing to com­mit viol­ent acts against a rep­res­ent­at­ive of the author­it­ies, organ­iz­ing to obstruct the activ­it­ies of the invest­ig­at­or, organ­iz­ing to use viol­ence against a civil ser­vant, organ­iz­ing theft of fire­arms and ammuni­tion com­mit­ted by a group of per­sons by pri­or conspiracy.

A num­ber of human rights act­iv­ists in Kyrgyz­stan sent an appeal to Pres­id­ent Sadyr Jap­arov urging him to release the ex-MP Ravshan Jeen­bekov but so far received no response.

Ravshan Jeenbekov’s case is fabricated

The case lacks any proof that Ravshan Jeen­bekov com­mit­ted crimes he is being charged with. The only basis for the accus­a­tions is a testi­mony of a single wit­ness, who accord­ing to Ravshan Jeenbekov’s attor­ney Zamir Jooshev was coerced by invest­ig­at­ive bod­ies to give false testi­mony under the guise of cooper­a­tion with invest­ig­a­tion norm, now excluded from new crim­in­al code due to abuses of this norm by law enforce­ment to fab­ric­ate cases.[2]

Par­lia­ment­ary Elec­tions of 2021

Although author­it­ies allowed Ravshan Jeen­bekov, accom­pan­ied by a con­voy, to sub­mit doc­u­ments to the Cent­ral Com­mis­sion for Elec­tions and Ref­er­en­dums of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic for regis­tra­tion as a can­did­ate for depu­ties of the Jogorku Kenesh and sub­sequently, on 27.11.2021, be registered as a par­lia­ment­ary can­did­ate in the Len­in elect­or­al dis­trict No. 26 – he was denied his right to be elec­ted to state bod­ies guar­an­teed part 1 of Art­icle 37 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic and remained in custody.

Author­it­ies have made a mock­ery of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Act on Elec­tions of the Pres­id­ent of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic and Depu­ties to the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic, allowed to alloc­ate time on tele­vi­sion and radio and even sched­uled him for debates, but kept him in SIZO‑1 refus­ing to deliv­er him even accom­pan­ied by a convoy.

Con­tin­ued unlaw­ful detention

Part 10 of Art­icle 21 of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Law of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic “On Elec­tions of the Pres­id­ent of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic and Depu­ties of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic”, which in the hier­archy of reg­u­lat­ory leg­al acts of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic occu­pies a high­er pos­i­tion in its leg­al force than the Code of Crim­in­al Pro­ced­ure of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic, estab­lishes immunity from crim­in­al pro­sec­u­tion for a par­lia­ment­ary can­did­ate from the moment of regis­tra­tion as a can­did­ate and until the announce­ment of the res­ults elec­tions. This means that from the moment of regis­tra­tion, crim­in­al pro­sec­u­tion against can­did­ate Ravshan Jeen­bekov was sub­ject to sus­pen­sion, and the chosen meas­ure of restraint in his regard can­celed. If a can­did­ate, hav­ing equal oppor­tun­it­ies to par­ti­cip­ate in elec­tion cam­paign­ing, con­vinces voters to vote for him and, accord­ing to the offi­cial res­ults of the elec­tions, receives the man­date of a deputy in par­lia­ment, then the crim­in­al case against him can be resumed only with the con­sent of the major­ity of the total num­ber of depu­ties of the Jogorku Kenesh. This require­ment is estab­lished in part 1 of Art­icle 78 of the cur­rent Con­sti­tu­tion of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic brought into force by Sadyr Japarov’s administration.

Ongo­ing unlaw­ful depriva­tion of liberty

Ravshan Jeenbekov’s cur­rent impris­on­ment is also in viol­a­tion of new Crim­in­al legis­la­tion. Jeen­bekov should have been released at least at 00:01 hours on 01 Decem­ber 2021. On Decem­ber 2, 2021, a new Crim­in­al Pro­ced­ure Code of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic, signed by the Pres­id­ent of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic Sadyr Jap­arov on Octo­ber 28, 2021 came into force.

Under art­icle 115, para­graphs 1, 6, 7 and 11, of the Code of Crim­in­al Pro­ced­ure provides that deten­tion as a pre­vent­ive meas­ure is applied by decision of the invest­ig­at­ing judge for a peri­od of up to 2 months. The peri­od of deten­tion shall include, inter alia, the time of deten­tion as a sus­pect. In accord­ance with part 4 of art­icle 303 of the Code of Crim­in­al Pro­ced­ure of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic the exten­sion of deten­tion for more than one year is not allowed and is sub­ject to change to anoth­er pre­vent­ive meas­ure. After this peri­od, the per­son in cus­tody is sub­ject to imme­di­ate release by the admin­is­tra­tion. This rule is man­dat­ory and is sub­ject to imme­di­ate imple­ment­a­tion by author­ized per­sons in cases of the con­sequences spe­cified therein. Ravshan Jeen­bekov has been detained for more than one year. More pre­cisely, — 415 days. Ravshan Jeen­bekov is a vic­tim of arbit­rary arrest and deten­tion and unlaw­ful depriva­tion of liberty, i.e., depriva­tion of liberty that is not imposed on such grounds and in accord­ance with such pro­ced­ure as are estab­lished by law. By these actions Kyrgyz author­it­ies not only are viol­a­tion their own laws but also are fail­ing to ful­fill their inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions in accord­ance with inter­na­tion­al treaties.

We call on inter­na­tion­al com­munity to urge Kyrgyz author­it­ies respect new laws they them­selves have adop­ted and release Ravshan Jeen­bekov from detention.