In Kyrgyzstan, all defendants in Kempir-Abad case acquitted


By Kuban Andymen

BISHKEK: A court in Kyrgyzstan has acquitted the defendants in the so-called “Kempir-Abad case”.

In the fall of 2022, the defendants were taken into custody after expressing disagreement with the transfer to Uzbekistan of Kempir-Abad reservoir lands, located on the border between the two countries in the south of the country.

Law enforcement authorities accused them of preparing for mass riots, and some of them of attempting to seize power by force.

On June 14, the Pervomaisky District Court of Bishkek delivered an acquittal verdict for all defendants in the case.

The court concluded that there was no criminal element in their actions. All defendants were released from custody directly in the courtroom, the Kyrgyz service of “Azattyk” has reported.

The session was held in closed mode. Media and relatives of the defendants were not allowed to attend the announcement.

The Kempir-Abad reservoir was built in 1983 on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. Since then, disputes over the territorial ownership of the reservoir have continued. Uzbekistan referred to the reservoir as the Andijan Reservoir.

In October 2022, the Kyrgyz authorities announced a decision to transfer 4,485 hectares, including the Kempir-Abad reservoir, to Uzbekistan. It was reported that in return, Kyrgyzstan would receive more than 18,000 hectares of land in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions. According to the head of the State Committee for National Security (SCNS), Kamchybek Tashiev, as a result of the agreements, the map of Kyrgyzstan would expand by 15,806 hectares.

In October 2022, several activists, politicians, and human rights defenders expressed disagreement with the transfer of the reservoir.

This was followed by mass arrests, and 27 people were imprisoned on charges of preparing for mass riots. Some of them were also charged with preparing to seize power by force. The cases of five of them were separated into a separate proceeding.

Several months later, the court released some of the defendants and placed them under house arrest. Nine people remained in pre-trial detention.

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