Kyrgyzstan Court Moves Four Journalists from Prison to House Arrest

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – Four journalists in Kyrgyzstan who were jailed in January on suspicion of inciting mass unrest have been moved to house arrest, while four others accused in the same case remain in pretrial detention.

A district court in Bishkek ordered the release on Tuesday of the former employees of Temirov Live, which supporters say is being targeted by the government because of its reports – some on YouTube – on alleged corruption involving senior officials. Police concluded that Temirov Live reports “contain signs of calls for mass chaos,” according to media outlet Politklinika.

The four journalists transferred from jail to house arrest are Tynystan Asypbekov, Saipidin Sultanaliev, Joodar Buzumov, and Maksat Tajibek uulu.

Those still in jail are Temirov Live director Makhabat Tajibek kyzy; two other journalists with the outlet, Aike Beishekeyeva and Azamat Ishenbekov, and a former Temirov Live journalist, Aktilek Kaparov.

A total of 11 former and current Temirov Live workers face charges in the case that could send them to jail for years if they are convicted. Free speech advocates say the prosecution is part of an increasingly restrictive rollback from a time when media enjoyed relative freedom in Kyrgyzstan.

The conditions of the journalists still in prison came under further scrutiny this past weekend when Makhabat Tajibek kyzy, the Temirov Live director, alleged that she and other detainees not involved in her case were beaten. Authorities deny the allegation.

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Times of Central Asia