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Journalists in Trouble: Restrictions on RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service Lifted Following Court Decision

Kyrgyz government restores access to RFE/RL websites, bank account; Amnesty letter-writing campaign for Vladyslav Yesypenko continues; RFE/RL marks anniversary of fraudulent election in Belarus; and more.

Vladyslav Yesypenko poses with his arm around his wife, Kateryna Yesypenko
RFE/RL journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko with his wife, Kateryna Yesypenko. Courtesy Image.

KYRGYZSTAN: Restrictions on RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service Lifted Following Court Decision

Thanks to concerted advocacy by RFE/RL’s partners and the international community, Kyrgyzstan’s Internet operators restored access to RFE/RL websites and RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service regained access to its bank account.

The restrictions were lifted following a Bishkek court’s July 12 decision approving a settlement agreement between the Kyrgyz Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy and RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Radio Azattyk.

Kyrgyz authorities retaliated against RFE/RL for its reporting about clashes at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, including by blocking RFE/RL websites and freezing Azattyk’s bank account in October 2022.

The crackdown on Azattyk was condemned widely by Kyrgyz and international civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect JournalistsHuman Rights WatchIFEX, the International Press Institute, and Reporters Without Borders. RFE/RL is grateful for their support.

Vladyslav Yesypenko and his wife Kateryna
Vladyslav Yesypenko and his wife Kateryna

UKRAINE: Dozens Write Solidarity Letters to Imprisoned RFE/RL Journalist in Crimea

Dozens of people have already taken part in Amnesty International Czech Republic’s letter-writing campaign for Vladyslav Yesypenko, an RFE/RL journalist who has been imprisoned in Russian-occupied Crimea since March 2021. Vladyslav’s family says he is permitted to receive letters and that each one gives him hope. Here’s how you can join:

  1. Write your letter or postcard in Russian, or use an online translator.
  2. Make sure your letter or postcard does not contain political or religious themes.
  3. List Vladyslav’s address in both English and Russian:

    ​In English: Vladyslav Yesypenko, Correctional Colony No. 2, 298330, Respublika Krym, Kerch, str. Industrial highway, 17 Russia/Ukraine

    In Russian: Владислав Есипенко, Исправительная колония №2 Адрес: 298330, Республика Крым, г. Керчь, ул. Индустриальное шоссе, 17 Россия/Украина
  4. Please do not send any packages.

ICYMI: Read Catholic News Agency’s story about RFE/RL journalist Ihar Losik who has been unjustly imprisoned in Belarus for over three years. Ihar is Catholic and has appealed to Pope Francis for help.

BELARUS: RFE/RL Journalists Remain Imprisoned on Anniversary of Fraudulent Election

As the third anniversary of the fraudulent re-election of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the ensuing violent repression of those peacefully protesting the outcome approaches, RFE/RL reiterates its call for the release of our imprisoned Belarusian colleagues, Andrey Kuznechyk and Ihar Losik.

On June 25, we marked Andrey Kuznechyk’s 600th day behind bars. Andrey was detained in November 2021 and convicted on false charges. He is currently serving a six-year sentence, away from his wife and two young children. While imprisoned, Andrey continues to write letters and poems in Belarusian.

Ihar Losik was detained in June 2020, in the lead-up to Belarus’s rigged election, and sentenced to 15 years in prison on bogus charges. He is being held incommunicado – the last time anyone outside the prison colony had contact with him was 168 days ago.

We encourage you to write to Ihar and Andrey. Although letters may not be delivered, they demonstrate continued outside interest to the Belarusian authorities.


  1. Write postcards in Belarusian and mail them to the prisoners directly. Ihar and Andrey are both being held at: Penal colony No. 1. 211440, Navapolack, vulica Techničnaya 8, Belarus
  2. Submit your messages in English or Belarusian to the Solidarity Postcards Atelier. Volunteers will mail the prisoners handwritten postcards on your behalf.

My name is Deniz Yuksel, Senior Advocacy Officer here at RFE/RL and the author of Journalists in Trouble. Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter and for standing with persecuted journalists.

If you are interested in collaborating to amplify the stories of our imprisoned journalists, you can reach me by emailing And, if you know someone who may be interested in Journalists in Trouble, click here to forward this edition to them.