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Authorities in Kyrgystzan Must Refrain from Unlawful Use of Force, Says Amnesty International

WASHINGTON - Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in
Kyrgysztan not to use excessive force  in their attempts to end protests
in the capital Bishkek and other cities that have reportedly left 17 people
dead and many more injured.

Demonstrators calling for the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakyev
over rising prices reportedly seized weapons from the police which led
to violent confrontations.

“The authorities have the right and the responsibility to protect the
lives and safety of the public, but they must not use excessive force.
The use of force is legitimate only where it is strictly necessary and
proportionate,” said Andrea Huber, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Program

Tensions between the government and the opposition have escalated in recent
weeks and erupted on April 6 in the provincial town of Talas, following
the arrest of an opposition leader who was later released.

Growing discontent among the population caused by rising prices in heating
fuel and electricity prompted the opposition to call for nationwide protests
today, April 7, should the government not meet a list of demands.

A state of emergency has been declared by the President Bakyev. Several
opposition figures, who had called for the demonstrations, have been arrested
and accused of organizing the riots.

Amnesty International is concerned that members of the opposition may have
been arrested arbitrarily and that they may face torture or ill-treatment
in detention.

“The Kyrgyz authorities should bear in mind that human rights cannot be
trampled on even in the state of emergency,” Huber said.

“The unrest must not be used as a pretext to further restrict freedom
of assembly and freedom of expression.”


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