14 June 2011
Re: Kyrgyzstan – Threats against human rights defender Mr Maxim Bratuhin
Human rights defender Mr Maxim Bratuhin was threatened by officials on 25 May 2011, after he acted as a witness in a criminal trial which was reportedly initiated based on the defendant's sexual orientation. Maxim Bratuhin is chairman of the board of 'Pathfinder', a public association which works to promote equality for all, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 'Pathfinder' defends the rights of the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan.
On 25 May 2011, Bishkek city court considered the appeal against the decision condemning Mikhail Kudriashov for 'distribution of pornography' under the article 262 of the Criminal Code to one and a half year's conditional imprisonment. Maxim Bratuhin was called as a witness in the case. As he waited in a corridor outside the Court he was approached by a member of the financial police, who reportedly took part in the beating of Mikhail Kudriashov during his arrest. The officer said: “You made this case public. But if you continue to talk, you will lose your tongue!”. Another representative of financial police added: “It is a pity that our country is not islamic, because we would have already eliminated people like you”.
When Maxim Bratuhin tried to lodge a complaint against the threats, the Prosecutor's office refused to register it. When he enquired as to why his complaint had not been dealt with the secretary explained that 'we cannot go against the Financial Police'. Maxim Bratuhin eventually sent the complaint by registered post. Two weeks later, he was notified that his complaint had been registered and that an internal investigation on the case is to be initiated.
The threats received by Maxim Brahutin illustrate the difficult environment in which human rights defenders working on sexual orientation and gender identity operate in Kyrgyzstan, which also affected the trial of Mikhail Kudriashov.
Front Line considers that the threats received by human rights defender Maxim Brahutin is directly linked to his human rights work in defence of LGBTI people in Kyrgyzstan. Front Line welcomes the decision of the Prosecutor office to initiate the investigation into this case.
Front Line urges the authorities in Kyrgyzstan to:
1. Immediately stop all the acts of intimidation towards human rights defenders in Kyrgystan;
2. Carry out an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the threats received by Maxim Bratuhin with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan are able to carry out their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment
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