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EU urges to clarify circumstances of Azimzhan Askarov's death

The European External Action Service issued a statement in connection with the death of Azimzhan Askarov, sentenced to life imprisonment, in the prison colony No. 47.

It says the European Union had followed the judicial process against the human rights defender since his arrest in 2010.

«On the basis of the opinion of the UN Human Rights Committee, we had expressed repeatedly our opinion on the court proceedings and had called for Mr. Askarov’s release. The EU had shared with Kyrgyz authorities its concerns about his deteriorating health. We strongly regret that despite the calls for his release on humanitarian grounds, Mr. Askarov has died in prison. It is important that the circumstances of his death, and the conditions in which he was held in the final months of his life are clarified,» the EU said.

Azimzhan Askarov was accused of inciting ethnic hatred and murder of a policeman during the June events in the south of the republic in 2010. In 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee recognized the human rights defender as a victim of torture, and all court decisions in his criminal case — unjust and recommended to release him. However, Kyrgyzstan did not follow these recommendations.