JUNE 24, BISHKEK (The Bulletin) — MPs in Kyrgyzstan voted to sack a judge over a row about biometric data in what civil activists described as more evidence of parliament’s authoritarian tendencies.
Protesters gathered in the centre of Bishkek to demonstrate against the apparent sacking of Klara Sooronkulova, a judge in the Constitutional Chamber of the Kyrgyz Supreme Court.
She had been working on a document that would have declared a law brought in last year forcing everybody in Kyrgyzstan to give their fingerprint data to the state as unconstitutional.
“Sooronkulova was dismissed only because she expressed her opinion as an independent judge,” shouted Nurbek Toktakunov, a lawyer, at the protest.
The law that Ms Sooronkulova took umbridge with decreed that only those people who had submitted biometric data could vote in a parliamentary election set for October.
She said that this was unlawful. Apparently irritated by her reluctance to accept the law on biometric data, the government forced MPs to vote three times to sack her. She survived the first two efforts.
“This is a clear evidence of complete arbitrariness,” Ms Sooronkulova told a newspaper.
It’s unlikely that protests will gather momentum but the independence of the judiciary from the executive power has been damaged in Kyrgyzstan.
>>This story was first published on June 24 2015 in issue 238 of The Conway Bulletin, a weekly newspaper covering Central Asia and the South Caucasus