Europe and Central Asia

Europe and Central Asia

The fall of the Soviet Union spawned newly independent states from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Tian Shan mountains in the east. While the region experienced tremendous change in recent years, authoritarianism still casts a long shadow. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan both underwent leadership changes, replacing Soviet-era rulers with close confidants. While the change was welcomed by the international community, human rights reforms have been marginal. For example, Kazakhstan has revised laws related to defamation and freedom of assembly, but continues to imprison activists for allegedly violating these laws.

Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Tajikistan, leaders have tightened their grip on power, devastating civil society through new arrests and restrictive laws. For example, in Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko was elected to a sixth term in August 2020 after all his opponents were imprisoned.

Freedom Now has advocated for the release of 55 prisoners of conscience in the region, 38 of whom have been released. Our work in the region focuses on civil society restrictions, transnational repression, and prison conditions.

Fighting Wrongful Imprisonment

Alnur Ilyashev

Alnur Ilyashev

Location - Kazakhstan

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WhatsApp Group Members

WhatsApp Group Members

Location - Kazakhstan

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Erzhan Elshibayev

Erzhan Elshibayev

Location - Kazakhstan

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Omruzak Omarkuliev

Omruzak Omarkuliev

Location - Turkmenistan

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Buzurgmehr Yorov

Buzurgmehr Yorov

Location - Tajikistan

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Daler Sharipov

Daler Sharipov

Location - Tajikistan

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Zayd Saidov

Zayd Saidov

Location - Tajikistan

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Mahmadali Hayit

Mahmadali Hayit

Location - Tajikistan

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IRPT Leaders

IRPT Leaders

Location - Tajikistan

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Gulgeldy Annaniyazov

Gulgeldy Annaniyazov

Location - Turkmenistan

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Serikzhan Bilash

Serikzhan Bilash

Location - Kazakhstan

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Khadija Ismayilova

Khadija Ismayilova

Location - Azerbaijan

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Aramais Avakyan

Aramais Avakyan

Location - Uzbekistan

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Intigam Aliyev

Intigam Aliyev

Location - Azerbaijan

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Leyla and Arif Yunus

Leyla and Arif Yunus

Location - Azerbaijan

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Ilgar Mammadov

Ilgar Mammadov

Location - Azerbaijan

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Anar Mammadli and Bashir Sulemanli

Anar Mammadli and Bashir Sulemanli

Location - Azerbaijan

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Bobomurod Razzakov

Bobomurod Razzakov

Location - Uzbekistan

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Hilal Mammadov

Hilal Mammadov

Location - Azerbaijan

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Azamjon Farmonov

Azamjon Farmonov

Location - Uzbekistan

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Mikalai Statkevich

Mikalai Statkevich

Location - Belarus

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Bakhtiyar Hajiyev

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev

Location - Azerbaijan

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Maksat Kakabaev and Murad Ovezov

Maksat Kakabaev and Murad Ovezov

Location - Turkmenistan

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Gaybullo Jalilov

Gaybullo Jalilov

Location - Uzbekistan

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Dilmurod Saidov

Dilmurod Saidov

Location - Uzbekistan

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Iryna Khalip

Iryna Khalip

Location - Belarus

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Andrei Sannikov

Andrei Sannikov

Location - Belarus

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Emin Milli

Emin Milli

Location - Azerbaijan

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Adnan Hajizade

Adnan Hajizade

Location - Azerbaijan

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Ramazan Yesergepov

Ramazan Yesergepov

Location - Kazakhstan

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Akzam Turgunov

Akzam Turgunov

Location - Uzbekistan

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Annakurban Amanklychev & Sapardurdy Khadzhiev

Annakurban Amanklychev & Sapardurdy Khadzhiev

Location - Turkmenistan

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Salijon Abdurakhmanov

Salijon Abdurakhmanov

Location - Uzbekistan

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Zmister Bandarenka

Zmister Bandarenka

Location - Belarus

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Rasul Jafarov

Rasul Jafarov

Location - Azerbaijan

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NIDA Youth Activists

NIDA Youth Activists

Location - Azerbaijan

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Omar Mammadov

Omar Mammadov

Location - Azerbaijan

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Donate Today and Help Free a Prisoner of Conscience

Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?