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CPJ calls for dropping of charges against Temirov Live journalists

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calls for dropping of charges against all 11 former and current employees of Temirov Live and Ait, Ait Dese. The statement is posted on the organization’s website.

«While the release of another four journalists associated with Temirov Live is a step in the right direction, Kyrgyzstan continues to grossly flout its international free speech obligations by charging 11 journalists, four of whom are still being held, in retaliation for their reporting on official corruption,» said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. «Allegations that jail staff recently beat Temirov Live director Makhabat Tajibek kyzy are deeply concerning and demand full and urgent investigation.»

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 were detained.

All of them are former or current employees of Temirov Live. All 11 detained journalists were arrested for two months. Two previously arrested journalists were released from custody.

Earlier, the court placed Saparbek Akunbekov and Akyl Orozbekov under house arrest. Zhumabek Turdaliev was released on his own recognizance. On April 9, the preventive measure was changed for Saipidin Sultanaliev, Tynystan Asypbekov, Zoodar Buzumov and Maksat Tazhibek uulu.

Aktilek Kaparov, Aike Beishekeeva, Azamat Ishenbekov and Makhabat Tazhibek kyzy remain under arrest.