Torture and other ill-treatment remained pervasive throughout the country and law enforcement and judicial authorities failed to act on such allegations. The authorities continued to fail to impartially and effectively investigate the June 2010 violence and its aftermath and provide justice for the thousands of victims of serious crimes and human rights violations, including crimes against humanity. Ethnic Uzbeks continued to be targeted disproportionately for detention and prosecution in relation to the June 2010 violence.
Torture and other ill-treatment persisted, despite the development of a comprehensive national programme on combating torture, based on the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, and the adoption of a law on the establishment of a National Centre for the Prevention of torture and other ill-treatment.
The Special Rapporteur reported in February that incidents of torture and other ill-treatment to extract confessions “remained widespread”. He further observed, “that, in practice, there is no clear procedure in place prescribing the measures to be taken by courts should evidence appear to have been obtained through torture or ill-treatment. Furthermore, in practice, there appears to be no instruction to the courts with regard to implementing that rule or ordering an immediate, impartial and effective investigation if the rule is violated.”
He noted that in contrast to the actions taken and statements made by the current and former Presidents and the Prosecutor General, he had not heard of any instructions “communicated by the responsible officials of the Ministry of the Interior [Ministry of Internal Affairs] to condemn torture and ill-treatment or to declare unambiguously that torture and ill-treatment by police officers would not be tolerated”.
The detainees reported that police officers beat them in the face, skull and body. They stripped the detainees naked and forced them to run. The regional Ombudsman visited the IVS two days after Spravedlivost and met with all 42 detainees at the facility, 37 of whom confirmed that they had been ill-treated. In turn she asked the Regional Prosecutor’s Office to investigate these allegations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also conducted an internal investigation, but claimed to have found no evidence of any ill-treatment.
While arbitrary arrests of mainly ethnic Uzbeks appeared to have become less frequent in 2012, reports persisted of serious human rights violations committed against Uzbeks in relation to ongoing investigations into the June 2010 violence and its aftermath, including torture and other ill-treatment in detention, forced confessions and unfair trials. In his February report, the Special Rapporteur on torture expressed his concerns that “serious human rights violations committed in the context of [these] investigations have continued unabated in recent months”.Top of page
The Special Rapporteur on torture stated that he had heard “testimonies, according to which, in trials relating to the violence of June 2010, judges and prosecutors repeatedly failed to act on information of torture or ill-treatment supplied by defendants or their lawyers”. He cited the 20 December 2011 Supreme Court decision to turn down Azimzhan Askarov’s appeal and to confirm his life sentence as an “example of the highest judicial body’s failure to act on allegations of torture and ill-treatment”. The government accused the Special Rapporteur of being one-sided and stated that the Prosecutor General’s Office had conducted a thorough investigation into all the allegations of torture and forced confessions of Azimzhan Askarov and his co-defendants and had found no compelling evidence to substantiate these claims.
Despite initiatives taken by the authorities in the last two years – often in the face of considerable internal opposition – they failed to fairly and effectively investigate the June 2010 violence and its aftermath in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad and provide justice for the thousands of victims of the serious crimes and human rights violations, including crimes against humanity.
The Osh City Prosecutor stated in April that out of 105 cases which had gone to trial in relation to the June 2010 violence, only two resulted in acquittals. Only one of those cases involved an ethnic Uzbek, Farrukh Gapirov, the son of human rights defender Ravshan Gapirov. He was released after the appeal court found his conviction had been based on his confession which had been obtained under torture. However, no criminal investigation against the police officers responsible for his torture was initiated.
By contrast, the first – and, to date, the only – known conviction of ethnic Kyrgyz for the murder of ethnic Uzbeks in the course of the June 2010 violence was overturned.
Despite official directives from the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate every single report of torture, prosecutors regularly failed to investigate such allegations thoroughly and impartially, or to bring anyone identified as responsible to justice. The Special Rapporteur found that “[t]he efforts made by the interim Government to investigate and punish the abuses that resulted from the events of June 2010 have proved to be largely ineffective”.