KYRGYZSTAN: Detained Opposition MP beaten in prison

Dear friends,

The political detention of a Kyrgyz opposition parliamentarian, Mr. Azimbek Beknazarov, 47, has taken a turn for the worse with reports of him being brutally beaten while in prison. Hundreds of Kyrgyz people are continuing their weeks’ long hunger strike over his treatment – at least one has already died in this protest. They claim Beknazarov was arrested because he questioned the government’s deals to hand over large tracts of Kyrgyz land to China and Kazakhstan. This is a crucial test for the future of democracy, rule of law and human rights in Kyrgyzstan. We are forwarding you an appeal from OMCT (the World Organisation Against Torture) for your action.

Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission


OMCT Case KGZ 290102.4

Follow up to case KGZ 290102

Geneva, February 21st, 2002

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Kyrgyzstan.

New information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights, a member of the OMCT network, of the torture while in detention during the night of February 14th, 2002, of Mr. Azimbek Beknazarov, a member of the Kyrgyz Parliament. According to the information received, Deputy Azimbek Beknazarov, who has been arbitrarily detained since January 5th, 2002, was beaten by two security officials on the night in question. It was reported that two men in masks entered his cell during the night and beat him in the kidneys for several hours. Mr. Beknazarov reportedly lost consciousness during the beating, and the officials later forced him to write a statement that nobody had beat him and that he was being detained under good conditions.

According to the information received, relatives who visited Mr. Beknazarov reported that his kidneys ached and that he could hardly speak and answer their questions adequately. On February 18th, 2002, a Parliamentary Commission, including Deputies A. Madumarov, B. Asanov, D. Chotonov, as well as E. Korgoldoev (the coordinator of KCHR for Jalal-Abad region), and a journalist from radio Azattyk, applied to the prosecutor of the region, the head of Direction of Internal Affairs of Jalal-Abad region as well as to the director of the Regional Department of Internal Affairs, for permission to visit Mr. Beknazarov in detention. Although their requests were initially refused, two deputies of Parliament were eventually allowed to meet Mr. Beknazarov in custody on February 19th. As three police officers were present during the visit, Mr. Beknazarov was under pressure to state that nobody beat him. The deputies reported, however, that he was in very bad condition and, when saying goodbye to them, indicated that he feared for his life. There are also indications that Deputy Beknazarov has received injections of an unknown solution during his detention, which may be damaging his health.

As for the other persons mentioned in OMCT’s previous appeals, Mr. Chynybekov Talant, who had been arrested on January 17th, was released after one day in detention, but was threatened by the police that he would suffer more severe persecutions if he continued taking part in demonstrations. Mr. Janatbek Kamchybekov was released after two days in custody, also after threats of further repression in case of informing the public about the events in question. Mr. Japaraly Kamchybekov is still serving a sentence on the basis of false accusations, and reportedly continues to be threatened and toprtured during this time.

Regarding the group of 35 persons arrested on Febrary 1st, 17 of them managed to escape while being transported to the police station, while the others were kept in custody for eight hours and were served with an official warning before being released.

Meanwhile, members of NGOs are increasingly being discredited by the pro-govermental mass media. At the same time, the hunger strike, which started on January 10th, 2000, still goes on and the number of hunger strikers increases daily. It currently involves some 350 persons, according to reports. So far, more than 700 protesters have reportedly engaged in hunger strikes.

The International Secretariat of OMCT condemns the ill-treatment and torture to which Mr. Azimbek Beknazarov and Japaraly Kamchybekov have reportedly been subjected while in detention. OMCT is gravely concerned for their physical and psychological integrity.

Brief reminder of the situation

According to the information received, Deputy Beknazarov was arrested on January 5th, 2002, and was charged under two clauses of the Kyrgyz Criminal Code: clause 177(2) – abuse of power; and clause 185(2) – deliberate detention of an innocent person, following allegations that he had mishandled a murder case, which took place in February 1995, when Mr. Beknazarov was an investigator at the office of the Toktogul District Prosecutor. It is, however, believed that Mr. Beknazarov’s arrest is largely politically motivated, and is a result of his recent criticism of the Government, most notably the Kyrgyz-Chinese agreement, under to which a section of Kyrgyz territory (some 125,000 hectares) was transferred to China, and more recently, he publicly opposed a similar Kyrgyz land transfer to Kazakhstan.

According to reports, a trial has been set to take place on February 12th, 2002, at the Toktogul District Court, in the Jalal-Abad region, Kyrgyzstan, but it is feared that due to the suspected political agenda that is thought to have motivated Mr. Beknazarov’s arrest, he may not be afforded a fair trial.

Action requested :

Please write to the authorities in Kyrgyzstan urging them to:

i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee Deputy Beknazarov’s and Japaraly Kamchybekov’s physical and psychological integrity;

ii. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the reports of the alleged torture and ill-treatment to which Mr. Azimbek Beknazarov and Japaraly Kamchybekov have been subjected, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

iii. order Deputy Beknazarov and Japaraly Kamchybekov’s immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;

iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses :

Mr Askar Akayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzskaya
Respublika, 720003 g. Bishkek, Prospekt Chuy, 205, Fax: 996 312 218
627, Email:

Mr. Amangedi Muraliev, Prime Minister, Fax: 996 312 218 627

Mr. Omurbek Kutuev, Minister of the Interior, Fax: 996 312 663 031,
996 312 288 788

Mr. Nelya Beishenalieva, Minister of Justice, Fax: 996 312 663 044

Please also write to the embassies of Kyrgyzstan in your respective country.

Geneva, February 21st, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Organizaci? Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)

8 rue du Vieux-Billard
Case postale 21
CH-1211 Geneve 8
Tel. : 0041 22 809 49 39
Fax : 0041 22 809 49 29
E-mail :

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-02-2002
Countries : KYRGYZSTAN,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Torture,