Kyrgyzstan: health of jailed politician on hunger strike ‘worrisome’

BISHKEK (TCA) — The health of one of three jailed Kyrgyz opposition politicians who have been on hunger strike for several days is very serious, his lawyer has told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service.

Mars Kydykbaev told RFE/RL on February 12 that his clients — Bektur Asanov, Kubanychbek Kadyrov, and Ernest Karybekov — intend to continue their hunger strike until all their demands are met.

“They might stop the ‘dry’ hunger strike and agree to drink liquids, but will continue to refuse eating food. At this moment, Bektur Asanov’s health condition is worrisome,” Kydykbaev said.

Kyrgyz State Penitentiary Service spokesman Aleksandr Niksdorf said on February 12 that one of the strikers started drinking liquids, but continues not to eat food.

The three were arrested in March 2016 after an audio recording with voices similar to the three politicians circulated on the Internet discussing ways to overthrow the government.

Asanov told RFE/RL before his arrest that the tapes had been doctored and that they were posted online in “an attempt to blackmail the opposition.”

The trio was charged with plotting to overthrow the government.

In April, a court in Bishkek found them guilty and sentenced Karybekov to 20 years in prison, while Kadyrov and Asanov received prison sentences of 12 years each.

On February 7, the Bishkek City Court upheld the sentences and the three were transferred from the State Committee for National Security’s (SCNS) detention center to a penal colony near Bishkek.

The three started the hunger strike one after another between January 30 and February 1, demanding retrial and resignation of the SCNS chief Abdil Segizbaev.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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