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Ensure Justice, Abolish Blasphemy Laws

A female student, Deborah Samuel, was gruesomely murdered in Nigeria’s northwestern Sokoto state last week after she was accused of blasphemy. Efforts by the authorities to identify and arrest those involved in her murder have been met with protests,…
A burned-out building
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Self-Defence Against Domestic Violence Should Count at Trial

Gulzhan Pasanova could spend 10 years in prison because in defending herself from her abusive husband, he died. On October 22, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan will consider her case on appeal. In November 2019, Pasanova’s husband, accusing her of…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
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Azimjon Askarov at Risk of Covid-19 Exposure, Requires Urgent Medical Care

Human rights defender Azimjon Askarov has spent 10 years in prison in Kyrgyzstan. He is now seriously ill and at extreme risk of contracting Covid-19. Askarov’s lawyer, Valeryan Vakhitov, visited him in prison on July 22. He told me that Askarov is…
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Man Who Abused Wife in Viral Video Sentenced to Probation Only

After years of monitoring violence against women in Kyrgyzstan, and seeing little done to punish abusers, we thought this time might finally be different. It wasn’t. It looked like an open and shut case. The horrific abuse was captured on video…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan. © Tatiana Zelenskaya
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Calls to Strengthen Justice and Support for Abuse Survivors

A video depicting horrific domestic abuse, circulating recently on social media in Kyrgyzstan, shows a man slapping his wife and pouring water over her head. The woman’s hands are tied behind her back, and tires, weighted down with stones, hang over her…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan.
News

Domestic Violence Services Need to Be Classified As “Essential”

Under Kyrgyzstan’s present state of emergency, which includes a curfew from 8pm to 7am, it has become a lot more difficult for women to escape domestic violence. Many are too afraid to call the police or help centres, says Tolkun Tulekova, acting…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Proposal Would Criminalize Criticism of Government

Nigerian campaigners are speaking out against a bill that would regulate engagement on social media with the campaign #SayNoToSocialMediaBill. The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019 was presented in the Senate…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria
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Broad Claims of National Security Threaten Rights

Nigerian authorities appear to be on a renewed drive to muzzle free speech. Earlier this month, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) suspended the broadcast licenses of two subsidiaries of Daar Communications, the…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria
News

Merkel should Raise Rights Concerns, Call for Activist’s Release

It’s been four years since a Kyrgyz president visited Germany, a period of change and some progress. In October 2017, Kyrgyzstan held competitive, peaceful elections ushering in a new president. The country has started negotiations to upgrade…
Kyrgyz President-elect Sooronbai Jeenbekov (front) attends an inauguration ceremony at the Ala-Archa state residence outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan November 24, 2017.
News

Kyrgyz Government Flagrantly Denies Activist’s Rights, Violates Their Obligations

  Kyrgyzstan has extradited a Kazakhstan activist back to his country – even though he faces politically-motivated criminal charges and is at risk of being tortured. It is utterly outrageous. Kyrgyz officers took Murat Tungishbaev away…
A man taking a photo
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Government Should Do More to End ‘Bride Kidnapping,’ Protect Victims

The 20-year-old woman from Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, was headed for a medical career and marriage to the man she loved. Instead, she was murdered by a jealous admirer who had “bride kidnapped” her to force her into marriage. It is…
Screenshot from a video showing a photograph of Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy.
News

New Government Should Promptly Abolish Repressive Laws

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, twice imprisoned on politically motivated sodomy and corruption charges, walked free from prison today with a full pardon. It was a day for celebration – for his family, his supporters, and for…
Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, who was granted a royal pardon, arrives to speak to supporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 16, 2018.
News

During Kyrgyzstan Presidential Visit, EU Leaders Should Press for Greater Media Freedom

Six months after being elected president and taking power in the first peaceful transition between democratically elected leaders in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov is this week making his first official visit to Europe as head of…
Kyrgyz President-elect Sooronbai Jeenbekov (front) attends an inauguration ceremony at the Ala-Archa state residence outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan November 24, 2017.
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Lawsuits Mar Former President’s Record

Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court dealt a heavy blow to freedom of speech today by upholding three defamation rulings punishing critics for apparently insulting the “honor and dignity” of the now former president, Almazbek Atambaev. …
Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev addresses a news conference in Berlin, April 1, 2015.
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Maladministration in Nigerian’s July 2016 Execution

The official Ombudsman of Indonesia has accused both the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Supreme Court of “maladministration” in denying a Nigerian citizen, executed for drug trafficking in July 2016, his legal rights. …
201707Asia_Indonesia_Nigeria
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Authorities Seek to Dodge International Rights Commitments

Kyrgyz authorities seem determined to amend the country’s constitution despite some strong opposition from within Kyrgyzstan. Legislation that will allow authorities to hold a referendum on constitutional amendments this coming December could go to third…
Members of Kyrgyzstan's parliament attend first session in Bishkek, November 10, 2010.
News
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who will be in London next week to pitch foreign investment, is mired in political controversy at home. The corruption scandal involving the government-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad fund refuses to…
Malaysia's (L-R) Prime Minister Najib Razak and King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah wave Malaysian national flags during National Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, August 31, 2015.
News
Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is visiting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan this week – three countries plagued by serious human rights abuses. Uzbekistan has one of the world’s worst human rights records; Tajikistan is in the…
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier attends a news conference after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia, March 23, 2016.
News
This week, Nigeria’s senators moved a bill designed to muzzle free speech on social media one step closer to becoming law. The proposed law could affect an estimated 15 million plus Nigerians who use social media, not to mention the doubtless high numbers…
A man looks at smartphones on display at a shop at Wuse II business district in Abuja, Nigeria, December 9, 2014.
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When Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visits Malaysia on November 21, 2015, he should consider the words of the persecuted Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar. Speaking to a crowd gathered at New South Wales Parliament House last week,…
Cartoonist Zunar
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