In June 2010, violence erupted in Kyrgyzstan resulting in the displacement of an estimated 400,000 people in response to attacks. While it is believed that most victims were ethnic Uzbek, there are also reports of ethnic Kyrgyz people being attacked. The violence and displacement has exacerbated tensions between the two groups in Kyrgyzstan.
In the aftermath of the riots, Kyrgyzstani authorities detained many people on the suspicion that they had organized or participated in the violence. Reports suggest that the arrests may have disproportionately targeted those who identify as Uzbek.
As the trials of detainees are underway, members of the public have begun attacking defence lawyers in some cases. In these situations, police and court officials have done little or nothing to halt the attacks.
Tahir Asanov is a lawyer defending an Uzbek man who was charged in the context of the June 2010 violence. The defendant is accused of killing the driver of a murdered police chief.
During a trial hearing on September 30th, 2010, Mr. Asanov called for an inquiry into allegations that his client was assaulted in custody along with other detained defendants. In response, relatives of the murdered police chief shouted insults and attacked him. According to Amnesty International, court officials were “slow to intervene” and the judge “did not attempt to restore order or expel the perpetrators.”
At the completion of the hearing, Mr. Asanov was then beaten outside the courthouse. Police were present at the scene but failed to intervene. Moreover, the Prosecutor General’s Office claims that all necessary security measures were taken. There are ongoing concerns that Mr. Asanov remains at risk of further attacks as court hearings continue.
Letter of Intervention