Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security (SCNS) has interrogated two human rights defenders and three private individuals in the past week, solely because they spoke with a Crisis Group analyst earlier in the month.
These actions represent clear harassment of human rights defenders and others who were doing nothing more than exercising their rights of expression and assembly. If such researchers are not allowed to meet with others and discuss their work, the state is undermining the core freedoms of its citizens.
Our analyst was himself the subject of an illegal search and interrogation by the SCNS in Osh on 17 November. Multiple violations of Kyrgyz law occurred. He was denied access to a lawyer. The SCNS officers refused to identify themselves by either rank or name. He was not shown any documents authorising his detention and the search of Crisis Group’s vehicle. His laptop, notebook and other items were confiscated. The SCNS refused to provide him with documentation of any kind. Repeated attempts by Crisis Group’s lawyer to obtain these documents from the Office of the Prosecutor General in Osh have also failed.