Wrapped in a quilted robe, a thick file of papers about his case resting on the table in front of him, Azimjan Askarov is unequivocal when it comes to assigning blame for his imprisonment.
“People would often ask me, ‘Aren’t you afraid of the police?’ And I’d say, ‘Why? I work on the basis of the law. What’s there to be afraid of?’ But in the end they did what they wanted,” he said.
In a February 2 interview with EurasiaNet.org, Askarov, a human rights activist and police critic who is serving life term in prison for allegedly stoking a violent clash in southern Kyrgyzstan back in 2010, defended his innocence and discussed the country’s future. While lauding newly elected President Almazbek Atambayev’s tentative moves to mitigate ethnic tension, Askarov still criticized the state’s treatment of minority Uzbeks such as himself.
To read the full story
Nate Schenkkan is a Bishkek-based journalist.