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Kyrgyzstan Ends U.S. Cooperation Agreement Amid Human Rights Dispute

Kyrgyzstan Ends U.S. Cooperation Agreement Amid Human Rights Dispute

Kyrgyzstan has formally terminated a 1993 agreement on cooperation with the United States, a move that comes days after Bishkek protested a U.S. decision to grant a prestigious human rights award to an imprisoned Kyrgyz activist.

The Kyrgyz government’s press service says Prime Minister Temir Sariev on July 21 signed a government directive terminating the agreement on Cooperation To Facilitate The Provision Of Assistance.

Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry on July 17 protested Washington’s decision to confer the 2014 Human Rights Defender Award on Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and rights activist who is serving a life sentence in a Bishkek prison on charges of “creating a threat to civil peace and stability in society.”

Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek, was convicted following interethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 when more than 400 people were killed. He says he was tortured by police.

A State Department spokesperson said in e-mailed comments that the United States is “disappointed” in Bishkek’s cancellation of the bilateral agreement, adding that the move could put assistance programs that benefit the Kyrgyz people “in jeopardy.”

Source: Kyrgyzstan Ends U.S. Cooperation Agreement Amid Human Rights Dispute