European Union External Action

Statement by the Spokesperson on the new verdict in the case of Azimjan Askarov

A Regional Court in Chui, Kyrgyz Republic, today confirmed the life sentence for the jailed human rights defender, Mr Azimjan Askarov. Today's judgement follows the decision of the Kyrgyz authorities to re-open the case and carry out a new trial, open to the public and the media, as of 4 October 2016.

In its verdict, the Court dismissed all elements put forward by the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in its views published on 21 April 2016, which indicated that Mr Askarov's human rights were violated under a number of articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and called on the Kyrgyz Republic to immediately release Mr Askarov and to quash his conviction.

Mr Askarov's lawyers have announced that they will appeal the decision of the Court. The European Union expects the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that the trial is fully in line with international human rights norms, namely fair trial standards envisaged by Article 14 of the ICCPR and the Criminal Procedure Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, and undertake a thorough review of the evidence of mistreatment in custody referred to in the views of the UNHRC.

Full compliance with its international human rights obligations, including the opinions of the UNHRC, is essential to maintain the international standing of the Kyrgyz Republic, known and appreciated for its commitment to democracy.

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