Kyrgyzstan: Rita Karasartova released from prison following Amnesty's Urgent Action

If we have a dream, then fears can be overcome.

Those are the words of Rita Karasartova, a peaceful human rights defender and expert in civic governance in Kyrgyzstan.

Rita is also a mother who loves yoga, travelling, and sewing with her daughter.

For over a decade, Rita has dedicated her life to providing help to people whose rights had been violated by a corrupt and unreliable legal system. She leads the non-governmental Institute for Public Analysis and is a member of the United Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan, fighting against poverty and injustice.

Rita and other human right defenders opposed a new border agreement that gave control of a freshwater reservoir to Uzbekistan. Their fear is that Uzbekistan could restrict or prohibit access to water, which is scarce already in the region.

The activists called for peaceful demonstrations and government transparency.

But in October of 2022, Rita and the others were detained under charges of “mass disorder”. She was then charged with attempting to “violently overthrow the government” – a serious charge with a sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.

In early June 2023, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action to our members, asking for help campaign for Rita’s release. She was the only woman had been kept in pretrial detention – a small, unventilated cell with 10 people crammed into it. She was denied visits and telephone conversations with relatives, even her young son.

On 23 June we learned that the Pervomaisky District Court had released Rita. She is now under house arrest, with a curfew between 10 PM and 6 AM.

Rita’s temporary freedom is a great result of the Urgent Action. But the shadow of prison still looms over her and her family.

Featured in our most recent Write for Rights campaign, Amnesty won’t stop campaigning until all charges are dropped, and Rita is permanently free.