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CPJ condemns decision to uphold two-month pretrial detention of 11 journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned a Kyrgyzstan court’s decision to uphold the two-month pretrial detention of 11 journalists, who are current and former employees of Temirov Live media outlet. Statement of the organization says.

«By confirming the arrests of 11 journalists—an unprecedented assault on press freedom in modern Kyrgyz history—authorities in Kyrgyzstan are choosing to shatter the country’s long-held reputation as a haven for free speech in Central Asia,» said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. «Authorities should immediately release all 11 detained current and former journalists of Temirov Live, withdraw the trumped-up charges against them, and end their crackdown on independent reporting.»

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.»

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.