May 2021

Civilian flight forced down in Belarus to arrest journalist

By: Nick Mosher On May 23rd, Belarusian flight controllers forced down a Ryanair jetliner flying over Belarus in order to arrest dissident Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega. Claiming there was a bomb on board, the Belarusian military ordered a fighter jet to escort the civilian plane that was flying from Athens to Vilnius. Protasevich and Sapega were arrested upon landing with no sign of a bomb onboard. Three other passengers disembarked the plane inContinue reading “Civilian flight forced down in Belarus to arrest journalist”

Kyrgyz woman murdered in latest bride kidnapping tragedy

By: Lane Johansen On April 5th, Aizada Kanatbekova was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, Bishkek, sparking new protests over bride kidnapping and violence against women in Central Asia. Kanatbekova, 27, was taken in broad daylight off a central street in Bishkek. Her body was found in a car two days later with police later confirming she was strangled to death.  Kanatbekova’s family reported that they had repeatedly pleaded with the police forContinue reading “Kyrgyz woman murdered in latest bride kidnapping tragedy”

“National-patriots” attack women’s rights rally in Kyrgyzstan

By: Lane Johansen Hundreds of women’s rights activists took to the streets in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, Bishkek, on April 14th to protest violence against women in Central Asia. A group of the campaigners were assaulted by dozens of national-patriots during the rally, police did not intervene.  The demonstration was held in response to the recent murder of 27-year-old Aizada Kanatbekova, the latestContinue reading ““National-patriots” attack women’s rights rally in Kyrgyzstan”

Amnesty International redesignates Russian dissident Alexei Navalny a “prisoner of conscience”

By: Jackson Sharman Amnesty International announced on May 7 that it was reapplying the “prisoner of conscience” label to Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.  The human rights group removed the designation in February because of “concerns relating to discriminatory statements he made in 2007 and 2008 which may have constituted advocacy of hatred.”   Specifically, critics of Navalny point to videos that contain disturbing imagery. In one, Navalny is dressed as a dentist and talks about how interethnic conflict in Russia is a cavity.Continue reading “Amnesty International redesignates Russian dissident Alexei Navalny a “prisoner of conscience””

President Japarov continues to consolidate power in Kyrgyzstan

By: Nick Mosher On May 5th Kyrgyzstan’s President, Sadyr Japarov, approved troubling new constitutional amendments that will drastically increase the government’s ability to crack down on any opposition. These amendments were pushed forward by Kyrgyzstan’s caretaker parliament, which Human Rights Watch argues does not have the legitimacy required to initiate such changes: “The role of this outgoing parliament is not to rush in constitutional amendments, but to discharge essential governance functions in line withContinue reading “President Japarov continues to consolidate power in Kyrgyzstan”

News organizations in Russia facing difficulties as “foreign agent” law tightens restrictions

By: Jackson Sharman The Russian government is putting independent news media in the country under pressure after amending its controversial “foreign agent” law.   The government first passed the law in 2012 and has periodically expanded upon it since then. The new additions allow the Russian government to place the label of foreign agent – a term that connotes the charge of spy or traitor in Russia – on any individual or group that posts negative opinions of the government onlineContinue reading “News organizations in Russia facing difficulties as “foreign agent” law tightens restrictions”

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