Seven years ago Aijan was walking home from her waitressing job in central Bishkek with two girlfriends. They did not notice the three men following them. As two men tackled the other women, one dragged Aijan, 21 at the time, into a waiting car.
Later this May, European Union officials will meet a delegation from Turkmenistan during annual human rights consultations. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s authoritarian regime in Ashgabat is one of the most repressive in the world, yet the meeting poses perhaps the biggest test for the EU side.
Azamatjon Ermakov used to have a relatively peaceful life ferrying traders and their goods around on his donkey cart in a village in Uzbekistan’s Andijan province. He had embraced Islam in 1995 and became a regular at the local mosque.
Hilal Mamedov, who is currently on trial in Baku on charges of spying for Iran, fuelling inter-ethnic hatred, and illegal possession of drugs, has been awarded the Azerbaijan Institute of Peace and Democracy’s Isakhan Ashurov Prize in recognition of his human rights engagement.
Early on March 15, a 58-year-old man put on his tracksuit and left home in Qurghonteppa, a 90-minute drive south of Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital. Morning exercise was a regular part of his routine, says Amnesty International. But on this morning the man, a prominent critic of President Imomali Rakhmon, did not return.
This month, the Turkish government sent to parliament a major judicial reform package that it claims will change once and for all Turkey’s bad-boy image at the European Court of Human Rights. But critics say the initiative will not enable substantive change of Turkey’s controversial anti-terrorism law.
Firuza Mirkhamidova was visiting family in her native Tashkent in October when she received an unexpected phone call. Her husband, Abdulvosi Latipov, had unexpectedly been released from jail in Volgograd, where they lived.