The verdict against Azimzhan Askarov that upheld the life sentence is of great concern and points to the serious shortcomings in the judicial system of the country. Statement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says.
"The sentence of the court is directly opposite to the decision of the UN Committee on Human Rights, which found that Askarov was detained illegally, kept in inhumane conditions, tortured and deprived of the opportunity to properly prepare for his defense. Despite statements by the Kyrgyz authorities of adherence to international standards of fair trial, the process demonstrated the shortcomings in the judicial and law enforcement systems of the country," the statement says.
The day before, Chui Regional Court upheld the initial sentence, recognizing Azimzhan Askarov guilty on several charges including complicity in murder, incitement of interethnic hatred and hostage-taking in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. The Human Rights Committee, having considered the complaint by Askarov, urged to cancel the verdict and hold a new trial in accordance with the principles of a fair trial, presumption of innocence and other legal safeguards.
"It is very regrettable that the issues outlined by the Human Rights Committee have received insufficient attention during the trial and that the court failed to investigate allegations of torture against Askarov," the UN High Commissioner said.
According to him, there are other areas of concern: the lack of an interpreter appointed by the court to Askarov, who as a native speaker of Uzbek language had difficulties in understanding the Kyrgyz language - trial language, as well as relying on the same testimony as the sole source of evidence like at the first trial.
"Once again, I remind you about the call of the Human Rights Committee to cancel the sentence aganist Askarov and urge Kyrgyzstan to conduct an impartial, objective and thorough investigation and trial in order to establish justice for all," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.