‘Looking Forward To Jail’: The Prison Diary Of Kyrgyz Opposition Writer Oljobai Shakir

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11/04/2023

“The erosion of a nation’s freedom of speech can happen rapidly.” Oljobai Shakir, a 52-year-old activist and writer, spoke these words shortly after being detained by security forces in Kyrgyzstan for stating his opposition to the state giving four lakeside resorts to Uzbekistan and calling for protests against President Sadyr Japarov. For many years, Kyrgyzstan was a country where voices of dissent were plentiful and unprosecuted. But a series of detentions, prosecutions, and jailings of demonstrators, opposition activists (such as Shakir), and even housewives has spoiled its reputation as a place where freedom of speech is freely practiced.

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