Kyrgyzstan
29.11.12
Urgent Interventions

Dismissal of the complaint lodged by Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

Newinformation

KGZ001 / 1012 / OBS 100.1

Harassment

Kyrgyzstan

November29, 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 theInter-district Court of Bishkek to dismiss the complaint lodged by Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova, Director of theHuman Rights Centre (HRC) “Citizens Against Corruption” (CAC) and Director ofthe human rights film festival Bir Duyno - Kyrgyzstan (One World – Kyrgyzstan).The complaint was aimed to contest the legal conditions in which Ms. Ismailovawas served a warning on September 28, 2012. Such warning was related to the banof the screening of the human rights documentary “I am Gay and Muslim”, which was initially scheduled to be screenedat the festival on the same day (see background information).

According to the information received, on November 27, 2012, theInter-district Court of Bishkek declared that the complaint of Mrs. Ismailovahad no grounds for prosecution, thus denying the legitimacy of her request.Mrs. Ismailova declared that she will appeal this decision.

The Observatory further recalls that the HRC CAC also filed an appeal tooverturn another court decision to ban the screening of the film (see backgroundinformation). The appeal hearing was scheduled for December 5, 2012 before theBishkek City Court.

The Observatory therefore reiterates its call on the Kyrgyz authoritiesto shed the light on the conditions in which this ban was served and to ensurethat the international fair trial standards are fully respected during the nexthearing in the cases of Mrs. Ismailova's and of HRC CAC, as guaranteed byArticle 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),to which Kyrgyzstan is a State party.

Background information:

On September 28, 2012, around 11 am, four representatives of the StateCommittee of National Security (SCNS) presented themselves at the HRC CACoffices. One of them, Mr. N. Soodanbekov, served a warning to Mrs. TolekanIsmailova, alleging that the documentary “Iam Gay and Muslim”, scheduled on the same day on the occasion of the humanrights 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.The Chairperson of the Court decided to schedule the next hearing on November15, 2012, and finally postponed it to November 27, 2012.

On the day this warning was served to Mrs. Ismailova, the PervomayskyDistrict Court of Bishkek reportedly banned the film 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. However, the HRC CACsubsequently filed an appeal to overturn the court's decision. The Bishkek CityCourt scheduled the appeal hearing on December 5, 2012.

In addition, in that context Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova has been targeted bya smear campaign depicting her as spreading propaganda for homosexuality anddestructing Kyrgyz values in relation with the film “I am Gay and Muslim”. Such accusations were spread on a TVprogramme broadcast on October 14, 2012, as well as in a Kyrgyz newspaper.

In addition, on September 27, 2012, the festival organisers, includingMrs. Tolekan Ismailova and other members of HRC CAC, had received phone callsand text messages threatening them with physical assault. The director of thecinema “Manas”, where the film was to be shown, also received threats that thebuilding would be burnt down if the screening was not cancelled.

Finally, on October 8, 2012, HRC CAC received a letter from their webhosting company warning the human rights NGO that its website might be shutdown if it contained references or links to the said documentary.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to theauthorities of Kyrgyzstan, urging them to:

i. Put an end to any act of harassment- including at the judicial level - against Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova, as well asagainst all human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan, and ensure in all circumstancesthat they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without anyhindrance and fear of reprisals;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances thephysical and psychological integrity of Mrs. Tolekan Ismailova as well as ofall members of HRC CAC and human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan;

iii. Comply with the provisions of the UNDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of theUnited 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 allcircumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and withinternational and regional human rights instruments ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

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 2 640 38 83, Fax: + 32 2 640 01 31, Email: aitmatov@infonie.be

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

***

Paris-Geneva, November 29, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the 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 “I am Gay and Muslim” deals with theissue of gay rights in the Islamic world, taking the example of Moroccan youngmen who speak about their sexual orientation and their religious background.

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