Kyrgyzstan: Mass arrests of Tolekan Ismailova and other human rights defenders at peaceful protests

WLP / Front Line
Tolekan Ismailova sent the following information to the Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) after her second night of incarceration following her arrest in December while peacefully protesting irregularities in the Kyrgyzstan elections.
Tolekan along with several other arrested activists are being denied access to lawyers and relatives and to proper medical care. They have received verbal threats and intimidation by the police, and are being held in cells with unhygienic conditions. The court hearings have been delayed three times since their arrest on December 21st and are now scheduled to be held after the new year.
"During the two days I had high blood pressure. Previously I had been diagnosed and registered in rayon polyclinic as a hypertensive patient.

When I asked that [the prison] doctor provide me with assistance, I was told that there was no doctor... Then I asked to call emergency, and it showed up an hour later. My blood pressure was 150 over 90 by then, so they had to give me an injection of magnesium.

All night I felt that my blood pressure had not dropped. I was scared that I could have a crisis condition and I could have a stroke. I tried to calm myself. But the lack of a lawyer and denial of access to communication with the outside world made me feel anxious again. I was concerned with regard to obtaining assistance from public bodies, as emergency workers could well be in collusion with the police. During my experience as a human rights lawyer I witnessed several times how doctors of emergency services refused to provide assistance to the injured during political events (March 2005 events).

[Fellow activists] Nazgul Turdubekova, Aigul Kyzalakova, and Aichurok Mamatkadyrova [members of the Youth Human Rights Group, engaged in monitoring observance of human rights in penitentiary institutions of the Kyrgyz Republic since 1995] saw my condition and knocked at the door for 3 hours to have the policeman on duty come up. When he showed up, we demanded that he take us downstairs for fresh air. We were suffocating from the stink [in the cells] and we were very cold... We said that if something happened to us, he would be responsible. I had high blood pressure, Aichurok had a sore throat and bumps on her head, Aigul Kyzalakova had a pain in her joints, and Nazgul had a headache, pain in the heart and kidneys... We demanded that he allow us to sleep in better conditions. Then he said that there was a room where policemen change, and that we could sit on one bed till morning, until the head comes, and that nobody should see us, otherwise he would be punished.

That is how we spent the second night from about 2 to 7 in the morning.

In the morning I felt bad again, so I asked to call up emergency, this time it came after an hour and a half. The doctor and the nurse came in very aggressively... The nurse started shouting at me, and said that we were all faking our illnesses.

The nurse asked everybody to leave, but I asked them to stay, because I was frightened of her help. The nurse started pushing everybody and turning everybody out. I stated aloud that I refused to receive their assistance. In reply the doctor started beating me in the breast with her finger saying that I was faking my sickness. She grabbed my hand, put on her phonendoscope and without measuring blood pressure shouted: 'She has no blood pressure! She is faking!' She came out to the head officer and said that I was healthy, that I was not really sick and I could be sent to the cell again.

The head of police stated that we could be kept in the cell and ordered policemen to close us in the cell. We were dragged and locked in the cell.

Nazgul started having strong pain in her stomach. She demanded medical assistance, but nobody came and provided help."

26 December 2007