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Kyrgyzstan
21.12.12
Urgent Interventions

Decision to postpone the appeal hearing related to the banning of the screening of the documentary "I am Gay and Muslim"

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

Newinformation

KGZ001 / 1012 / OBS 100.2

Harassment

Kyrgyzstan

December21, 2012

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the InternationalFederation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention inthe following situation in Kyrgyzstan.

New information:

The Observatory was informed by reliable sources of the decision of theBishkek City Court to postpone the appeal hearing related to a court decisionof the Pervomaysky District Court of Bishkek that banned the screening of thehuman rights documentary “I am Gay and Muslim”, initially scheduled onSeptember 28, 2012 at the festival Bir Duyno - Kyrgyzstan (One World -Kyrgyzstan).

The Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Citizen Against Corruption” (CAC) indeedfiled a complaint before the Bishkek City Court in order to overturn the courtdecision of the Pervomaysky District Court banning the screening of thedocumentary (See background information).

According to the information received, on December 5, 2012, the appealhearing, which was scheduled to be addressed, was delayed to December 26, 2012.

The Observatory reiterates its call on the Kyrgyz authorities to ensurethat fair trial standards and the equal access to justice are fully respectedat the hearing of December, 26, 2012, in accordance with the article 14 of theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to whichKyrgyzstan is a State party.

Background information:

On September 28, 2012, the Pervomaysky District Court of Bishkekreportedly banned the film “I am Gay and Muslim” on the whole Kyrgyzterritory, thus preventing its broadcast in any circumstances. This orderfollowed a complaint lodged by the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic ofKyrgyzstan, which requested that the film be recognised as “extremist, incitingreligious hatred and aimed at dishonouring Muslims”. As the decision of thecourt came into force immediately, the festival's organisers could not contestthe ruling before the scheduled screening time. The HRC CAC subsequently filedan appeal to overturn the Pervomaysky court's decision, which the Bishkek CityCourt was scheduled to address to hear on December 5, 2012. The hearing waslater delayed to December 26, 2012.

In addition, in that context Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova, Director ofthe HRC CAC and Director of the human rights film festival Bir Duyno, has beentargeted by a smear campaign depicting her as spreading propaganda forhomosexuality and destructing Kyrgyz values in relation with the film “I am Gay and Muslim”. Such accusationswere spread on a TV programme broadcast on October 14, 2012, as well as in aKyrgyz newspaper.

It is also to be mentioned that on September 27, 2012, the festivalorganisers, including Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova and other members of HRC CAC, hadreceived phone calls and text messages threatening them with physical assault.The director of the cinema “Manas”, where the film was to be shown, alsoreceived threats that the building would be burnt down if the screening was notcancelled.

Finally,on October 8, 2012, HRC CAC received a letter from their web hosting companywarning the human rights NGO that its website might be shut down if itcontained references or links to the said documentary.

On the day the film “I am Gay and Muslim” was banned upon adecision of the Pervomaysky District Court, around 11 am, four representativesof the State Committee of National Security (SCNS) presented themselves at theHRC CAC offices. One of them, Mr. N. Soodanbekov, served a warning to Mrs.Tolekan Ismailova, alleging that the documentary “I am Gay and Muslim”, scheduled on the same day on the occasion ofthe human rights film festival Bir Duyno – Kyrgyzstan (One World – Kyrgyzstan)[1],was considered as encouraging “inter-religious hatred”. The warning read asfollows: “according to the decision by the State Commission of ReligiousAffairs, based on point 6.1 of Article 1 of the 'Law on Combating ExtremistActivity', the film is considered 'extremist' and its diffusion andbroadcasting within the territory of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan might encouragereligious hatred and set the scene for mass disorder”.

As the SCNC official who served this warning did not have the authorityto do so, and as the official procedure was not followed, Mrs. Ismailovasubsequently lodged a complaint. On October 31, 2012, the first hearing washeld before the Bishkek Inter-district Court, allowing Mrs. Ismailova and HRCCAC's lawyer to give all the details of the legal violations mentioned above.On November 27, 2012, the Court rejected Mrs. Ismailova's complaint. The humanrights defender intends to appeal this decision.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to theauthorities of Kyrgyzstan, urging them to:

i.Put an end to any act of harassment - including at the judicial level - againstMrs. Tolekan Ismailova, as well as against all human rights defenders inKyrgyzstan, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry outtheir legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

ii.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mrs.Tolekan Ismailova as well as of all members of HRC CAC and human rightsdefenders in Kyrgyzstan;

iii.with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

-its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and inassociation with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”,

-its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that “Everyone has the right,individually and in association with others […] as provided for in human rightsand other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart ordisseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights andfundamental freedoms and [...] to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on theobservance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamentalfreedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw publicattention to those matters”,

-and its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessarymeasures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone,individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats,retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any otherarbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of therights referred to in the present Declaration” ;

iv.More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights andfundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of HumanRights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified byKyrgyzstan.

Addresses:

· Mr. Almazbek Atambaev, President ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, Chuy Ave, 205, Bishkek,

· Kyrgyzstan Tel: +996 312 63 91 17,Fax: + 996312626191

· Mr. Chamil Atahanov, Minister ofInternal Affairs, Frunze st. 469, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: 0996 312 66 24 50,Fax: + 996312682044 / + 996312623853, email: pressa226@mvd.kg

· Ms. Aida Salyanova, GeneralProsecutor of KGZ, Fax: +996312661734

· Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan tothe United Nations in Geneva, Rue Maunoir 26/Rue du Lac 4-6, 1207 Geneva,Switzerland, Email: kyrgyzmission@bluewin.ch,Fax: +41 22 707.92.21

· State Committee of NationalSecurity, Erkindik blvd 70, Bishkek 720040, Kyrgyzstan, tel: (0 312) 66-04-75,fax: (0 312) 66-00-24

· Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Brussels,47 rue de l’Abbaye, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640 18 68 / + 32 2 64038 83, Fax: + 32 2 640 01 31, Email: aitmatov@infonie.be

Please also write to diplomaticrepresentations of Kyrgyzstan in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, December 21, 2012

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protectionof Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their timeof need.

To contact the Observatory, call theemergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] The documentary “Iam Gay and Muslim” deals with the issue of gay rights in the Islamic world,taking the example of Moroccan young men who speak about their sexualorientation and their religious background.

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