Radik Kutluev is now a pale and lean 31-year-old man living in Kyrgyzstan's southern capital of Osh. Before his body failed him, he aimed for a career as an accountant. Muscular dystrophy derailed that dream.
"When I was 15, I started having problems with my legs, and a year later I could not walk at all. Since then I can only move in a wheelchair" Kutluev explained.
Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan all showed significant decreases in corruption over the past year, according to a recently published worldwide survey by a Berlin-based watchdog group. The survey also showed that Armenia's rating declined, and the rest of the Central Asian states remained near the bottom of the rankings.
Kyrgyzstan, the first Central Asian country to suspend the death penalty, is now considering bringing it back.
After more than a decade since the death penalty was suspended, an attempt by a parliamentary committee last week to add Kyrgyzstan's name to a UN protocol aimed at ending capital punishment met strong resistance.
Many international and domestic observers worry that the recent convictions of two youth activist-bloggers in Azerbaijan are sounding the death knell for the democratization process in the South Caucasus country.
They have built roads and hospitals; schools and factories. And now, with the recent opening of Yerevan’s $35 million Cafesjian Center for the Arts, members of Armenia’s deep-pocketed Diaspora has moved into modern art.
The government of Kazakhstan has hired a Washington lobbying firm to try to change regulations that require countries to make progress on human rights in order to receive US aid. Kazakhstani officials have indicated that they would prefer to not get the money at all, rather than be subjected to the "insulting" standards.
Students prevented from studying at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and later prohibited from traveling to the American University of Bulgaria, reportedly have been placed on a five-year travel blacklist, an opposition news site is reporting.
Youth activists Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli were convicted on hooliganism and violence charges in a Baku court on November 11. International observers and youth activists immediately expressed outrage at the verdict.
After a two-week delay, the high-profile trial of two Azerbaijani youth activists resumed briefly on October 27 before the judge ordered a 10-day adjournment. Supporters of the jailed duo contend that the repeated and lengthy delays constitute a human rights violation.
After spending nearly two months in pre-trial detention in Azerbaijan, two youth activists, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, appeared in a Baku courtroom on September 4. The presiding judge rejected a variety of defense motions, including one to have the charges dropped and another to permit media coverage of the proceedings.