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Search at 24.kg: Court denies access of employees to office

Hearing on the appeal of the management of 24.kg news agency against the refusal to satisfy the petition accepted by the senior investigator for especially important cases of the Main Investigative Committee of the State Committee for National Security, Erlan Akynbekov, for access to the sealed editorial office took place in Bishkek City Court. Previously, the Pervomaisky District Court refused to satisfy the request.

Lawyer Nurbek Sydykov noted that the Criminal Procedure Code does not provide for such a procedural action as sealing. He added that during the search at the office, everything possible was confiscated. There is no ban on the activities of the media outlet. The news agency continues to operate. But denial of access to the premises makes it difficult for journalists to disseminate socially important information.

The lawyer added that the premises are rented and 24.kg news agency continues to pay for it and, accordingly, incurs financial losses.

The court heard the speech of the senior investigator of the State Committee for National Security behind closed doors.

As a result, the court rejected 24.kg’s complaint.

Employees of the State Committee for National Security came to the office of 24.kg news agency on January 16 at about 11 a.m. General Director Asel Otorbaeva, Editors-in-Chief Anton Lymar and Makhinur Niyazova were taken for interrogation. Equipment and personal mobile phones of employees were confiscated. The SCNS said that the search at 24.kg news agency was conducted as part of a criminal case under the article «Propaganda of War» of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. On January 17, the managers were summoned for questioning again.