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Investigation into death of Azimzhan Askarov to be resumed

Criminal case on the death of human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov will be reopened. Lawyer Aidar Sydykov told 24.kg news agency.

According to him, this decision was made by the judge of the Sverdlovsky District Court of Bishkek Aizada Isaeva.

«The court satisfied the motion of the defense against the decision of the investigator of the State Penitentiary Service to terminate the criminal case on the death of human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov. Thus, the decision of the investigator was declared illegal and unfounded. The judge considered the arguments of the investigation that the interrogation of witnesses is impossible due to their absence or non-attendance as untenable,» Aidar Sydykov said.

He noted that the investigation will be carried out by the State Penitentiary Service. However, the lawyers intend to seek sending of the criminal case to the State Committee for National Security.

«We are convinced that the case should not be investigated by the State Penitentiary Service in view of its interest in terminating the criminal case. The principle of independence of the investigation is violated,» Aidar Sydykov said.

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.