Kyrgyz authorities should cease their harassment of journalist Kanat Kanimetov and allow him to work freely and without fear. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
On March 11, officers of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (SCNS) summoned Kanimetov, a reporter at Aprel television broadcaster, to their headquarters in Bishkek, for questioning in the framework of the criminal case against the ex-chairman of the State Committee for National Security Abdil Segizbaev.
According to the journalist and his lawyer Nurbek Sydykov, although Kanimetov was summoned as a witness, investigators questioned him as if he was a suspect in a criminal case, but did not accuse him of any specific crimes.
Separately, in early April, police questioned several of Kanimetov’s relatives about his whereabouts and also questioned their neighbors.
The journalist believes these actions were authorities’ attempts to pressure him in retaliation for his critical news coverage.
«Kyrgyz authorities should immediately stop harassing journalist Kanat Kanimetov and members of his family, and ensure he can hold the country’s leadership to account without fear of retribution,» said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. «Rather than attempting to intimidate inconvenient journalists, authorities under the newly elected President Sadyr Japarov must realize that criticism and a diversity of views are essential components of the democratic society that they claim to be building.»