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. 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.
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.
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.