Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Kyrgyz Court Acquits Noted Rights Activist In High-Profile Case.

Human rights activist Kamiljan Ruziev told RFE/RL on August 12 that the Karakol city court concluded there were no elements of crime in his case and found him not guilty. (file photo)

Human rights activist Kamiljan Ruziev told RFE/RL on August 12 that the Karakol city court concluded there were no elements of crime in his case and found him not guilty. (file photo)

KARAKOL, Kyrgyzstan -- A Kyrgyz court has acquitted well-known rights activist Kamiljan Ruziev on fraud and forgery charges in a high-profile case that rights groups call trumped-up.

Ruziev told RFE/RL on August 12 that the Karakol city court concluded there were no elements of crime in his case and found him not guilty.

Kyrgyz Ombudswoman Atyr Abdrakhmatova confirmed Ruziev's acquittal on Facebook.

Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security arrested Ruziev in May 2020 outside the Karakol city courthouse while the court was considering a lawsuit Ruziev had filed against the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) and the prosecutor-general’s office for failing to investigate his complaint that law enforcement officers had threatened him.

Ruziev was charged with fraud and forgery at the time, but later the fraud charge was dropped.

On August 10, the Bishkek-based Equal Rights Coalition, which comprises several leading human rights groups in the Central Asian country, issued a statement saying that instead of trying Ruziev the authorities "should thoroughly investigate Ruziev's complaint" to find out if his claims about abuse of power by the security officials who arrested him really took place.

Ruziev, who heads the Karakol-based human rights organization Ventus, has said he was arrested in retribution for his human rights activities.

For more than 20 years, Ruziev has been defending the rights of prisoners and others who have complained of torture and harassment at the hands of the police and government officials.

Human Rights Watch and Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, have demanded Kyrgyz authorities drop the charge against Ruziev and investigate his claims that he was threatened by law enforcement.

At this point, it is unclear if the authorities will launch a probe into Ruziev's claim against the UKMK officers.

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