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Human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov was buried in Uzbekistan. What was he known for

Kyrgyz human rights defender of Uzbek origin Azimzhan Askarov, who died in prison from coronavirus, was buried in Uzbekistan. This was reported to Present Time by his son Sherzod. Askarov was interred in the village of Yangibazar in the Tashkent region.

His son thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan and the country’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Khurshid Mirzakhidov for the prompt organization of the removal of his father’s body. On the eve of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan issued a permit for the export of Askarov’s body to a neighboring country.

Relatives feared that his grave in Kyrgyzstan might be vandalized. Who is Azimzhan Askarov, for which the human rights defender received a life sentence in Kyrgyzstan, and the international community called on the authorities to release him and recognized him as a victim of torture.

Azimzhan Askarov’s case is one of the most famous in the entire history of independent Kyrgyzstan. Four years ago, the UN Human Rights Committee recognized Askarov’s detention as illegal and called for the immediate release of the human rights defender. For many years Azimzhan Askarov defended people from illegal courts and corrupt policemen, but he himself was unable to achieve a fair decision in his own criminal case.

He died on July 25 in prison. Askarov’s lawyer, who met with him three days before his death, says the human rights activist could not even walk. They carried him into the visiting room. Until the last moment, the prisoner was not going to be taken for a medical examination.

“He felt that he was going to die, he felt, because when we said goodbye, he cried. I brought him a watermelon, a melon. He cried, cried, ”says Valerian Vakhitov, Azimzhan Askarov’s lawyer.

Azimzhan Askarov fought against police brutality in his native Bazar-Korgon region in southern Kyrgyzstan. Here are just two stories from the career of a human rights defender. He helped free a woman who was illegally held for 8 months in a temporary detention center and raped. The police later took her to the hospital, where she had to give birth in handcuffs. Another story about a woman who was forced by local police to confess to a murder. Azimzhan Askarov found the woman who was allegedly killed by her and brought her directly to the courtroom.

The turning point for Azimzhan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek, was the tragic events in the south of the country. Exactly 10 years ago, there were clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz. Askarov was found guilty in one of the episodes of those riots. He was charged with murder. The criminal case was based on the testimony of local police officers, with whom Askarov had been fighting all his life. In addition to him, dozens of Uzbeks are serving sentences in the country’s prisons under very serious articles. Human rights activists also consider their criminal cases to be fabricated.

Immediately after the arrest, Azimzhan Askarov was beaten. At that time, this was confirmed in the office of the country’s ombudsman. A few days later, Askarov’s lawyer even photographed the bruises on his body. International human rights organizations have constantly spoken about numerous violations during the trial of the human rights defender all these years. The leaders of the country are reminded of the resonant case in almost all their trips to European countries.

But Askarov and his lawyers did not achieve a fair review of the materials. They believe that the criminal case was politicized. The country’s authorities have not yet fully investigated the causes of the clashes in the south of the country in 2010. Hundreds of people died, but none of the officials and security officials were punished for this. The authorities made prisoners like Askarov to blame for that tragedy.

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