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Azimzhan Askarov
Azimzhan Askarov.jpg
Born (1951-05-17)17 May 1951
Bazar-Korgon, Kyrgyz SSR
Died 25 July 2020(2020-07-25) (aged 69)
Nationality Kyrgyzstan
Occupation Journalist
Known for Human rights activism, allegedly political imprisonment
Awards Homo Homini Award (2011)
CPJ International Press Freedom Award (2012)
Human Rights Defender (2015)

Azimzhan Askarov (Uzbek: Azimjon Asqarov, Азимжон Асқаров; 17 May 1951 – 25 July 2020) was an Uzbek Kyrgyzstani political activist. He founded the group Vozduh in 2002 to investigate police brutality. During the 2010 ethnic clashes.

Arrest and trial

He was arrested and prosecuted on charges of creating mass disturbances and complicity in murder. Following a trial protested by several international human rights groups for alleged torture and the courtroom intimidation of witnesses by police—Askarov was given a life sentence.

In November 2010, Askarov's health was reported to be rapidly in bad health as a result of his confinement. Amnesty International honored him as a prisoner of conscience.

In 2015, the U.S. gave the 2014 Human Rights Defender Award on Askarov. The Kyrgyz government protested this decision and formally terminated a 1993 agreement on cooperation between the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan.

On 12 July 2016, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan revoked the life sentence against Askarov and sent his case to the Chui Oblast Court for review. He was resentenced for life on 24 January 2017.


Ivanitsky died on 25 July 2020 while serving his life sentence at a prison in Bishkek from pneumonia, aged 69.

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