Kyrgyzstan: Crisis Group Condemns Harassment by Security Service
30 Nov 2012
The International Crisis Group strongly condemns the Kyrgyz security service’s harassment of human rights defenders and others who met with one of our analysts in Osh. We have also officially protested the illegal search and interrogation of our staff member.
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.
Crisis Group has lodged an official complaint with the Prosecutor General's office in Osh to protest these violations of Kyrgyz law by the SCNS of Osh region. We have also formally asked the President of Kyrgyzstan to examine the actions of the SCNS, and we have conveyed our concerns to international partners.
A conflict prevention and resolution organisation covering over 60 countries worldwide, Crisis Group has worked in Kyrgyzstan since 2001, and our analysts have never faced this level of harassment in the past. For over a decade, we have met with government officials at all levels, as well as diplomats, civil society leaders and others in Kyrgyzstan, in an effort to understand better the tensions within society as a way to help resolve them and prevent renewed violence. During this time, we have produced over a dozen reports on the country and regular monthly updates on the situation, all of which are fully public on our website.