HRW irked by Kyrgyz torture claims

NEW YORK, March 29 (UPI) -- Officials in Kyrgyzstan aren't meeting international obligations on torture in their investigation of last year's ethnic violence, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch said the refusal by Kyrgyz authorities to investigate claims of torture is a "serious violation" of law.


The watchdog group claims an ethnic Uzbek was acquitted in an ethnic violence case after a court dismissed claims his confession was extracted under torture. Authorities in Osh refused to investigate the claims despite medical evidence supporting the torture allegations.

"The authorities' blatant dismissal of the court's orders in this case and their refusal to investigate the use of torture despite overwhelming evidence, is incomprehensible," Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

A Bishkek investigation, looking into ethnic violence that gripped parts of southern Kyrgyzstan after an April coup, blamed Uzbek leaders and backers of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev for the conflict. Washington said it was concerned about allegations of torture during the unrest and analysts said Bishkek wasn't ready to conduct "an honest investigation" into the June conflicts.

Nevertheless, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva was feted on the 100th International Women's Day earlier this month for "her courage in leading Kyrgyzstan through a difficult transition to democracy provides hope for Central Asia and inspiration for people around the world who are pursuing their universal rights."


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