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Azimzhan Askarov’s death: No elements of crime, Penitentiary Service claims

The State Penitentiary Service of Kyrgyzstan continues to assert that there are no elements of crime in the death of human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov in prison colony No. 47.

The state service noted that the experts’ conclusion says: the death occurred as a result of bilateral pneumonia. It caused acute heart and respiratory failure.

The fact of death of convicted Azimzhan Askarov was registered.

«It should be noted that the convicted Askarov received adequate medical assistance while serving his sentence in the institutions of the State Penitentiary Service. There is no direct causal connection between Azimzhan Askarov’s illness and his detention under the special regime provided for those sentenced to life imprisonment. Taking into account the epidemiological situation associated with the spread of coronavirus infection and the growth in pneumonia incidence, according to the Criminal Procedure Code, pre-trial proceedings on the fact of Askarov’s death were terminated due to the absence of elements of crime,» the State Penitentiary Service said.

However, the lawyers of the human rights activist are sure that the necessary medical assistance was not provided to Askarov. They are seeking to reopen the investigation.

The UN Human Rights Committee ruled that the human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov was subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The Committee obliged the state party to take the necessary measures for his immediate release, cancellation of his criminal record, including full compensation for damage. The human rights activist filed a lawsuit in court, where he asked to indicate the measures taken on this decision.

In June, the Administrative Court terminated the proceedings on Azimzhan Askarov’s claim, justifying it by the fact that the dispute in this case did not arise from administrative-legal (public-law) relations between the government and the plaintiff.

Azimzhan Askarov died in hospital of the prison colony No. 47 on July 25, 2020. According to the conclusion of the medical examination, the death was caused by acute respiratory failure.