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IPI demands immediate release of 11 journalists detained in Kyrgyzstan

The International Press Institute (IPI) global network demands the immediate release of 11 journalists detained yesterday in Kyrgyzstan. The organization said in a statement.

«The mass jailing of journalists in apparent response to their coverage of public officials is a serious attack on press freedom, and the latest sign of Kyrgyzstan’s growing intolerance for critical journalism,» IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. «It is absurd to equate reporting on possible wrongdoing — which is a core function of journalism in any democracy — with instigating riots.»

We call on Kyrgyz authorities to immediately release the journalists in custody and to end their pattern of harassing journalists and independent media outlets.

Scott Griffen

On January 16, the office of Temirov Live was searched and editorial equipment was confiscated. The police searched homes and detained 11 current and former employees of the media outlet.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement announcing that, as a result of «forensic linguistic examination» of content found on the social media pages of Temirov Live and Ait Ait Dese on December 30, criminal proceedings had been initiated against them under article 278, part 3 of the Criminal Code for «calling for riots.»

Yesterday evening, all detainees were arrested until the end of investigation by court decision.

Makhabat Tazhibek kyzy, Sapar Akunbekov, Azamat Ishenbekov, Saipidin Sultanaliev, Aktilek Kaparov, Tynystan Asypbekov, Maksat Tazhibek uulu, Zhoodar Buzumov, Zhumabek Turdaliev, Aike Beishekeeva and Akyl Orozbekov will be kept in Bishkek pretrial detention center 1 until March 13. All of them are former or current employees of Temirov Live.