Yuri Razgulaev reports from Bishkek
February 7, in Kirghizia one of participants of political hunger-strike died. The famous economist, deputy chairman of Kirghiz Human Rights Movement Sheraly Nazarkulov did not stand the 22-day test. The day before his death he met with people, though later he lost consciousness, fell into coma and died of exhaustion and of insulite. He never sow his little son who was born the day before his death. The protest action of Kirghiz human rights activists and representatives of opposition organizations started after Zhogorku Kenesh Legislative Assembly deputy Azimbek Beknazarov’s arrest on 5 January. The chairman of parliament committee on legal reform and lawfulness was accused of his “illegal refuse to institute proceedings”, while being investigator of Togtogul regional public prosecutor’s office 8 years ago, against a man who killed his fellow citizen in a drunk scuffle. While Beknazarov’s colleagues regarded this accusation as the authorities’ persecution of a human being, who had resolutely protested against territorial concessions to the neighbours. According to Baknazarov, Askar Akaev made it to the prejudice of Kirghiz people and as an infringement of the constitution. In particular, Azimbek Beknazarov criticized the president, because he secretly from the parliament signed in 1996 and in 1999 the treaty about handing over to China of 125 thousands hectares of frontier territories and carried out an illegal exchange of territories with Kazakhstan. At the same time, he for the first time in Kirghiz history arouse the question about impeachment of the state’s head, who “had not defended his motherland’s interests.” This case caused a great political resonance. Ordinary citizens of Jelal-Abad region turned out to be involved in the conflict between the deputy and the authorities. Some of them, supported Azimbek Beknazarov took part in the hunger-strike, while others wrote (or signed) letters to state newspapers demanding to punish the deputy. All that seriously damaged Askar Akaev’s authority. All the more that living standard in the republic catastrophically decreases. Commodity turnover decreased two times in January, harp electricity switching-off started even in the capital. Official authorities, with the help of authoritative doctors, declared the human rights activist’s death has not been directly connected with the hunger-strike. Moreover, in official dissection conclusion it was said that in the scientist’s stomach rests of food were found. To be short, all means are being used. Though the human rights activist’s death made a depressing impression on people. They cannot forget one more politician, who is still in prison and who dared to oppose the president – Ar-Namys party’s leader Felix Kulov. Actions against some other opponents of the president are being brought as well. Now, it would be appropriate to remind, that several years ago, according to the president’s initiative, deputy immunity was repealed in Kirghizia. Therefore, elected representatives of the people, especially representatives of the opposition, are reasonably afraid of getting to prison. They, however, continue to defend their position. Two factions of the parliament – Kyrghyzstan and Communists of Kyrghyzstan have already made the president responsible of the human rights activist’s death, while the president is still keeping silent, in spite of numerous addresses of deputies, international human rights organizations and of the hunger-strike of more than 400 Kirghiz citizens. While experts pay attention to one more aspect of the conflict. Most of the strike’s participants and of Azimbek Beknazarov’s supporters live in southern regions of the country. Here, all territorial issues cannot be taken easy, because this part of the country seriously suffers from pretensions of the neighbours – of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Therefore, they cannot ignore Askar Akaev’s free-will handing over of such a territory. While appearing at the press-conference devoted to the human rights activist’s death, Zhogorku Kenesh deputy Adakhan Makumarov said: “Askar Akaev’s leave of absence, who neglected all social and political troubles of his nation, signifies that he has no right to remain at the head of the country. We openly declare that we can no longer have patience and resolutely demand the president’s resignation.” The statement was signed by 13 deputies, while Tolekan Isamailova, chairman of Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition called Kirghiz citizens to civil disobedience. The events’ evolution practically excludes peace outcome of the conflict. All the more that another political organization – pro-governmental Democratic Party of Kirghiz Women – demanded dissolution of such Zhogorku Kenesh. The sides seem to intend to go to the very end.
Yuri Razgulaev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kirghizia
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/11/36901.html