Human rights defender, Rita Karasartova, has been charged with attempting to “violently overthrow the government”, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
Rita is an expert in civic governance. She is a mother, practises yoga, and sews chapans which are the traditional quilted jackets worn by people in Kyrgyzstan.
For over a decade Rita has dedicated her life to providing independent legal advice, helping 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.
In October 2022, Rita’s life was turned upside down. Alongside 26 others, Rita was arrested for opposing a new border agreement that gave control of a freshwater reservoir to Uzbekistan. The group peacefully demonstrated against the agreement, demanding transparency from the government for fear of restriction of access to water, a scarce resource where loss of access would be devastating.
She was arrested and spent months detained in a cramped cell, denied access to healthcare and unable to see or speak to her family. Now she is under house arrest and a strict curfew.
Now is time to put direct pressure on the authorities and demand Rita Karasartova’s freedom.