The body of the Kyrgyz human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov, who died in a colony in Bishkek, was handed over to his wife. Askarov’s relatives said that his body will first be delivered to Osh and then transported to the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan.
“In accordance with the appeal of the family of Azimzhan Askarov, consultations were held with the Uzbek side, as a result of which an understanding was reached to satisfy the request of relatives with the obligatory observance of all sanitary and epidemiological standards,” quotes Internet edition 24.kg. words of the press secretary of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ulana Dyikanbaeva.
Azimzhan Askarov bequeathed to be buried where his children will be. They currently reside in Uzbekistan.
The Embassy of Uzbekistan informed Askarov’s wife about its readiness to provide a reanimobile and accompany it after crossing the border, told formerly Radio Azattyk (Kyrgyz edition of Radio Liberty, Tolekan Ismailova, head of the Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan human rights organization).
Azimzhan Askarov was 69 years old. He spent the last 10 years of his life in prison. The day before of death due to deteriorating health, he was taken to the medical unit of correctional colony No. 47 with a preliminary diagnosis of community-acquired right-sided pneumonia.
After Askarov’s death in prison, a number of international organizations criticized the Kyrgyz authorities and called for investigation into the circumstances of his death.
Azimzhan Askarov lived in the Bazar-Korgon district of the Jalal-Abad region and was engaged in human rights activities. After the June 2010 events, he was detained on suspicion of organizing riots and complicity in the murder of a police officer. By the decision of the courts of all instances, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The UN Human Rights Committee in 2016 gave its opinion on the Askarov case. It notes that Azimzhan Askarov, while in custody, was tortured, and was also deprived of the right to medical care and impartial justice.
On July 30, 2019, the human rights defender’s case was again reviewed in connection with the decriminalization of criminal legislation due to the entry into force of new codes. However, on May 13, 2020, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict.
International organizations and leaders of Western countries have repeatedly called on the authorities to release Askarov from prison.