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.

Email the General Prosecutor now demanding they immediately drop all charges against Rita Karasartova and release her from house arrest.