Case Documents for 11 Temirov Live Journalists Submitted to Court in Kyrgyzstan

Legal documents regarding the cases of eleven current and former journalists of the Temirov Live project, who are accused of calling for mass riots, have been handed over to the court. According to the Pervomaisky District Court of Bishkek, the criminal case was received by the court office and will be handed over to the judge through the automatic distribution of cases of the AIS system, news agency has stated.

As previously reported by the Times of Central Asia, on January 16, Interior Ministry officers searched the office of Temirov Live and confiscated its editorial equipment. The police also searched the journalists’ homes and detained eleven current and former employees of the publication. The motivation behind the case was one of Temirov’s projects called “Ait, Ait Dese,” which was published on YouTube in the fall of 2023, which the authorities claim called for mass disorder.

At the time, Kyrgyz Interior Minister Ulanbek Niyazbekov said the detainees weren’t journalists. “We cannot [help] but respond when they disseminate inaccurate information and engage in vilification. There are those who do not know the laws of journalism and do not have the relevant knowledge. They do not know and spread misleading information, sowing confusion among the people. I believe that we should not consider them as journalists,” news agencies quoted the Interior Minister as saying.

The detainees were Makhabat Tazhibek kyzy, Sapar Akunbekov, Azamat Ishenbekov, Saipidin Sultanaliyev, Aktilek Kaparov, Tynystan Asypbekov, Maksat Tazhibek uulu, Joodar Buzumov, Zhumabek Turdaliyev, Aike Beishekeeva and Akyl Orozbekov. They were all taken into custody in January for two months, until March 13. Later, the court released some of the detained journalists under house arrest and on their own recognizance.

Already facing a backlash over its so-called “foreign agents law,” Bishkek has pushed back against international criticism of the high-profile prosecution, saying the case is not politically motivated and that those facing charges are poorly educated people masquerading as journalists.

In late 2022, Kyrgyzstan deported Bolot Temirov, an investigative reporter with dual Kyrgyz and Russian nationality. “Temirov was sent to Russia by force with no belongings, no phone, no money or international passport, and in violation of deportation procedures,” the head of Reporters Without Bordfers Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, Jeanne Cavelier stated at the time.


Times of Central Asia