In case anyone was wondering why TN guest-author ‘Kaigyluu’ has opted to remain anonymous (or pseudonymous?), a statement by the International Crisis Group (ICG) today may provide some insights. It seems that Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security (SCNS) has not only harassed five people who recently spoke with an ICG analyst in the country but also interrogated the analyst himself.
In their twelve years of presence in Kyrgyzstan, the ICG states that they have “never faced this level of harassment.” They also allege numerous violations of Kyrgyz law in the manner in which their analyst was treated:
He was denied access to a lawyer. The SCNS officers refused to identify themselves by either rank or name. He was not shown any documents authorising his detention and the search of Crisis Group’s vehicle. His laptop, notebook and other items were confiscated. The SCNS refused to provide him with documentation of any kind. Repeated attempts by Crisis Group’s lawyer to obtain these documents from the Office of the Prosecutor General in Osh have also failed.
For those who have read Kaigyluu’s recent posts (critiquing both local policies and international responses to the 2010 violence in Kyrgyzstan), it will be unsurprising that this harassment took place in Osh, the main city of Kyrgyzstan’s ethnically troubled south. Care will clearly need to be taken to ensure that the ICG’s local interlocutors are not exposed to further perils for having spoken with the Group’s analyst. However, these incidents were clearly meant to tamp down criticism of Kyrgyzstan’s default policy of punishing the victims of ethnic violence. It is to be sincerely hoped that they will have the opposite effect.