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Freedom House: Kyrgyzstan Rated "Not Free"
Unrest in the Central Asian country continues into 2010
Ryskeldi Satkeev (ryskeldi64)     Print Article 
Published 2010-01-27 14:52 (KST)   
The US based, independent watchdog organization Freedom House has published the 2010 edition of its "Freedom in the World" report, which indicates a regional pattern of declining human rights and democratic reforms in the Central Asian republics.

Specifically, the report highlighted a recent set back in Kyrgyzstan, a country which a few years ago was characterized as "Island of Democracy" in Central Asia.

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However, Kyrgyzstan has gone through major political turmoil as of late. In March 2005, opposition parties and local NGOs organized a "Tulip Revolution" that ultimately reversed the country's political field. Fully supported by the opposition movement and major political figures on promises of democratic and constitutional reforms, a former Prime-Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiev became the second President of the Kyrgyz Republic.
President Bakiev
©2010 http://gdb.rferl.org/A19C1C0F-B099-42AC-9AE6-4F164

During his presidency, however, Bakiev consolidated his executive power, resulting in negative reactions from political parties across the spectrum and escalating a confrontation between Bakiev loyalists and opponents.

Political assassinations of state officials, opposition members, and outspoken journalists sparked numerous highly publicized protests in the country. Bakyt Beshimov, a leader of the Social Democratic Party, was forced to escape to the United States due to intensified threats to his life.

The death of the independent, freelance journalist Gennady Pavlyuk in December 2009 created a wave of anger across the political sphere in Kyrgyzstan and reaction from international organizations including OSCE and CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) His death was previously covered by OhmyNews International.
Assassinated freelance journalist Pavlyuk
©2010 http://gdb.rferl.org/768803F1-7B7F-40CA-A3A1-59550

Yet intimidation and attacks against Kyrgyz journalists continue. The latest developing story with chief-editor of the independent newspaper "Forum", J. Musabekova, implicates the very same tactic used by attackers. In an interview with the RFE/RL's Kyrgyz branch, Azattyk, on 24 December 2010, she confirmed that she had gotten telephone calls from unknown individuals threatening the safety of her 13-year-old daughter.

"In the last two days, I observed a vehicle following us everywhere right up to the district where we reside," Musabekova told RFE/RL. "Telephone calls with threats have become more consistent."

Meanwhile, in the Southern part of Kyrgyzstan, 1300 supporters of Kyrgyz Army General Isakov -- who was sentenced to 8 years in prison -- demanded his immediate release in petition to the President Bakiev.
Kyrgyz army general Isakov
©2010 http://gdb.rferl.org/36363514-750B-42CE-9655-6862F

Earlier, in response to the imprisonment of the General, on 13 January 2010 approximately 200-300 local protesters blocked the busy Kyrgyzstan/China southern highway "Osh-Irkeshtam" causing heavy traffic for a few hours, after which heavily armed special police units arrived and forced locals out of the freeway. In separate incident, 13 Isakov supporters began a hunger strike in the capital Bishkek to protest political repression.
Protesters blocked Kyrgyzstan-China highway in the southern region of the country.
©2010 http://gdb.rferl.org/D75B740D-4F02-458C-941D-4791C

Also published in the Journal of Turkish Weekly.
©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ryskeldi Satkeev

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