BISHKEK (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan has convicted tons of of individuals for extremism by utilizing an excessively broad definition of the crime, Human Rights Watch mentioned and it urged the largely Muslim Central Asian nation to evaluation such circumstances.
Imprisoning folks for mere possession of “extremist literature” – which incorporates some studies by rights activists – risked producing help for militant teams within the unstable ex-Soviet republic, the New York-based HRW mentioned in a report.
The Bishkek authorities mentioned on Wednesday that such circumstances can be reviewed after authorized reforms subsequent 12 months.
The mountainous nation of six million, which hosts a Russian navy airbase, is weak to the unfold of militant Islamist views, and its authorities fought in opposition to armed radicals within the 1990s.
Final 12 months Russian authorities blamed a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen for a lethal suicide bomb assault in St Petersburg.
HRW nevertheless mentioned Kyrgyzstan’s broad crackdown on extremism had been too heavy-handed and probably counterproductive.
“… When people who find themselves not harmful and had been merely in possession of literature (deemed extremist) are despatched to jail, the place they meet actually harmful folks, there’s a huge danger of radicalizing them,” Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division at HRW, mentioned in an interview in Bishkek.
Denber mentioned the brand new Kyrgyz felony code, as a consequence of take impact from 2019, excluded possession of literature from the checklist of offences, however mentioned HRW was involved about attainable delays and the truth that many individuals had already been convicted.
Other than Islamist books and pamphlets and recruitment movies of militant teams, Kyrgyz courts have labeled as extremist no less than two studies by human rights activists, Denber mentioned.
Commenting on the report, Kyrgyzstan’s State Jail Service mentioned about 500 folks had been convicted on costs of possessing and disseminating extremist media. Of those, some 300 had been in jail and about 200 had acquired suspended sentences.
With the deliberate felony regulation reform, some inmates could also be launched, a spokeswoman for the jail service mentioned.
Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Modifying by Richard Balmforth