Imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov is in grave physical condition and requires urgent treatment, according to one of his lawyers. Askarov is being confined in the basement of Penal Colony No. 47 in Bishkek, his lawyer Evgeniya Krapivina tells the Vechernii Bishkek newspaper, rather than in the cell normally reserved for those serving life sentences.
Askarov, 60, a dedicated monitor of police misconduct working near the southern city of Jalal-Abad, was arrested in June 2010 in connection with the deaths of police officers during ethnic violence that month between local Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. According to multiple reports, Askarov, who is Uzbek, was beaten, tortured, and threatened while in detention. Observers also witnessed physical attacks on him during his trial, including in court buildings.
Rights activists have repeatedly denounced Askarov’s conviction for multiple and blatant violations of due process. Nonetheless, on December 20 the Kyrgyz Supreme Court denied his final appeal.
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