Kyrgyzstan’s Proposed Espionage Law Invites Government Abuses | Freedom House

Kyrgyzstan’s Proposed Espionage Law Invites Government Abuses

Washington

Freedom House is deeply troubled by Kyrgyzstan’s proposal to drastically expand the definitions of “treason” and “espionage,” and criminalize “activity directed against the security of the Kyrgyz Republic.” If the draft legislation becomes law, it could be used against anyone producing, storing, or transmitting information that the government believes is harmful. Freedom House calls upon members of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) to reject the proposed amendments.

“This law would give the government the power to muzzle anyone who reports on human rights abuses,” said Susan Corke, director for Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “It is fundamentally repressive, an attack not only Kyrgyzstan’s civil society but also on the impressive democratic achievements the Kyrgyz Republic has made during its short independence.”

The draft law is almost an exact copy of a Russian law that came into force in 2012, aimed at demonizing independent civil society groups and the political opposition. As with the Russian measure, the law proposed by the Kyrgyz government could be used to criminalize the sharing of information with the United Nations and other international bodies about human rights. The Jogorku Kenesh is also considering a second measure that would brand some civil society groups as “foreign agents,” as Russia did in 2012, in an effort to malign and discredit them.

“Kyrgyzstan must not follow Russia’s disastrous example of bringing back heavy-handed and stifling control over civil society,” Corke said. “If these measures become law, they will be a betrayal of Kyrgyzstan’s democratic aspirations and a return to the country’s more authoritarian past.”

Kyrgyzstan is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Not Free in the Freedom of the Press 2013 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.

For more information, visit:

Freedom in the World 2013: Kyrgyzstan

Freedom of the Press 2013:  Kyrgyzstan

Nations in Transit 2013: Kyrgyzstan

Freedom on the Net 2013: Kyrgyzstan

Freedom House in Kyrgyzstan

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