In Kyrgyzstan, TrialWatch is fighting back against the discrimination domestic violence survivors face in criminal proceedings. At the same time, lawyers who advocate for the marginalized also face harassment and prosecution.
A domestic violence survivor was prosecuted for causing grievous bodily harm resulting in death for striking her husband with a steel bar after he threatened her and threw a knife at her. Ms. Pasanvoa has said that prior to his death, her husband had subjected her to severe psychological and physical abuse for years, including an incident that required hospitalization—with some incidents of abuse documented in hospital records. At trial, Ms. Pasanova tried to argue that she had acted in self-defense or, at least, in a state of “extreme emotional distress,” which under Kyrgyz law would have led to her being charged with a different offense carrying a lower potential penalty. The court did not allow her to call witnesses who could have testified about her husband’s previous abusive behavior or her state of mind on the night of the incident. Further, as found in the report on the case, which gave the proceedings a ‘D,’ the prosecution “relied on archaic gender stereotypes to make its case, suggesting, among other things, that Ms. Pasanova was lying about domestic violence, that she would not have stayed with [her husband] if she had truly been abused, and that any abuse that did occur was Ms. Pasanova’s fault.” After her conviction, CFJ filed an amicus brief in support of Ms. Pasanova’s appeal, arguing that the trial court violated her rights under international human rights law. Following this intervention, her sentence was lowered to 6 years in prison. After she exhausted her domestic remedies, CFJ then took her case to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Kamil Ruziev, a human rights lawyer, is facing charges for allegedly forging a medical certificate to get an extension in one of the cases he was working when he had bronchitis—even though the prosecutor’s office verified the certificate at the time and there’s no dispute that he actually had bronchitis. If convicted, he could face up to 5 years in prison. TrialWatch Expert Professor Hannah Garry said: “This unnecessary case against Kamil Ruziev is retaliatory action in response to the work of a human rights defender.”
Gulzhan Pasanova was prosecuted for and convicted of the offense of grievous bodily harm for fatally injuring her husband. Ms. Pasanova, who had been subjected to long-term domestic abuse by her husband, claimed she acted in self-defense.See the Fairness Report