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Matraimovs’ claims against media. Authorities must protect freedom of speech

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia expresses concern about unprecedented pressure on Kloop, Azattyk media outlets, the authors of the investigations, and 24.kg news agency, who also published the materials of the colleagues.

«In these materials, the authors disclose connections and actions of high-ranking officials of Kyrgyzstan, which in many ways deserve attention not only of the law enforcement and judicial bodies of Kyrgyzstan, but also of the international community, since the authors provided enough information indicating the reliability of their origin,» the Association notes.

In response, on December 12, 2019, the Sverdlovsky District Court of Bishkek issued a ruling on blocking the bank accounts of these media outlets following a lawsuit of the brothers — Iskender Matraimov, a deputy of the Parliament, and Raiymbek Matraimov — the former deputy head of the Customs Service, Minovar Dzhumaeva — wife of Iskender Matraimov, Uulkan Turgunova — wife of Raimbek Matraimov, as well as the Public Charitable Foundation named after Ismail Matraimov.

The court decision was executed on the same day. The court took such disproportionate and harsh measures in violation of the principle of a fair trial, thereby contributing to obstruction of activities of Kloop, Azattyk and 24.kg news agency media outlets, as well as ruining these media.

Of course, everyone involved in the prosecution has the right to dispute the findings of the journalistic investigation, but the Kyrgyz authorities must ensure equality of the parties for legal assessment of the evidence presented in the investigation, following the principles of objectivity, independence and security of all participants of the trial.

The court also has to consider that one of the participants of this journalistic investigation was recently killed in the center of Istanbul (Turkey).

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia appeals to international human rights organizations, diplomatic missions of the countries of the democratic community to urge the Kyrgyz authorities to fulfill international obligations in the field of protection of freedom of speech and providing conditions for an independent judicial investigation.