Human Rights Watch (HRW) Friday expressed concern over Kyrgyzstan Journalist Bolot Temirov who is expelled from Kyrgyzstan.
Bolot Temirov, director of Temirov Live, an independent online outlet, was born in Kyrgyzstan; however, he used a Soviet passport until he started using a Russian passport after 2001. Temirov received a Kyrgyz passport in 2008, however the same was annulled in connection to the criminal case against him. Temirov was arrested in January on charges of manufacturing illegal drugs. Temirov has contended that drugs allegedly found during the search had been planted.
On September 28, the Sverdlov district court of Bishkek acquitted Temirov of all the charges but found him guilty of forgery in his application for a Kyrgyz passport in 2008. The Sverdlov district prosecutor’s office appealed the entire ruling. On November 23, the Bishkek Court of Kyrgystan delivered the judgment to deport Temirov from Kyrgyzstan. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Border Service of the State Committee for National Security of the Kyrgyz Republic authorities forcibly took him to the airport and put him on a plane to Russia.
HRW stated that taking into consideration of the significant concerns about due process in his case, including the removal of his Kyrgyz passport, Temirov should be allowed to return to Kyrgyzstan to challenge his removal and continue his work as a journalist.
Syinat Sultanalieva, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch said:
Investigative journalism is a critical element of freedom of the media. Kyrgyz authorities should reverse his apparently arbitrary deportation and allow him to continue his professional activities in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz authorities should cease all attempts at punishing journalists for their professional activities and respect the country’s international human rights commitments
The Committee for Protection of Journalists and the International Partnership for Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan have raised concerns over the procedural violations committed by both the court and law enforcement officers, contending that Temirov is being persecuted for his professional activities and have raised concerns for Temirov’s life as he is at risk of further persecution in Russia
HRW stated that freedom of the press in Kyrgyzstan has been under renewed attack recently with authorities increasing efforts to control and censor mass media, including suspension of media, and amending laws with a harsh penalty.