7.4.14

Uzbekistan: On the Situation of 8 Participants in an Action of Solidarity with Free Ukraine

Participants in an action which took place in January are to face a judge 4 April 2014. If they fail to appear, they face an additional fine.

On 27 January 2014 in Tashkent, 7 citizens of Uzbekistan and one citizen of Ukraine submitted a petition to the Ukrainian Embassy in Tashkent (the text is attached, in Ukrainian). They photographed themselves with the flag of Ukraine at the embassy. Then they drove to the Taras Shevchenko monument, where they photographed themselves with the flags of Ukraine and Georgia. After this, they passed through the mahalla to the Khazrati (Khast) Muslim complex and photographed themselves there.

Later, these photographs appeared on the sites of many independent Internet publications and were perceived as a show of solidarity with participants in the action “For a Free Ukraine” on EuroMaidan in Kiev – in support of those protesting and advocating for the integration of Ukraine with the Europe Union.

Three days later, it turned out that the Uzbek authorities had declared the action by the 8 participants an “organization of an unauthorized rally and picket” and punished them with a fine and administrative arrest. The terms “rally,” “picket,” “street procession” and “demonstration” are not defined in the national legislation of Uzbekistan.

On 29 January 2014, at about 20:00, Shukhrat Nurmukhamedov, a police precinct inspector and four officers of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the city of Tashkent came to the home of Umida Akhmedova, a photo artist and documentary film-maker. They did not introduce themselves. They took away Umida Akhmedova and her son, the photo artist Timur Karpov, for a “chat.” They did not explain the reason for their detention, and did not show any papers justifying the detention. The policemen wrote out the summons to the police department only after being asked to do so by the detainees.

The same occurred with all the other participants in the action.
  • Information about the participants in the photographic session:
1. Timur Karpov, born 23 January 1990 in Tashkent. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Studied at Tashkent Theatre Institute in the film-making department, left after one year. One-man show at the Ilkhom Theater in 2009. Took part in group exhibits in St. Petersburg in 2008, in Uglich in 2013 and in Minsk in 2013. On 25 January 2014 at the House of Photography in Tashkent at the initiative of the Neformat Photo Club, a photo exhibit opened titled “One Space.” Among the participants was Timur Karpov. He presented photographs from the cycle “Abandoned Cities.” His work was banned from the show two hours before the exhibit due to the wishes of two directors of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan – Akmal Nur, chairman, and his deputy, Ravshan Mirtadzhiev. The decision about the censoring of free art provoked a conflict.

Under administrative arrest from 29 to 30 January 2014. By order of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases, on 30 January, under Art. 201 of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability (Violation of the procedure of organizations for conducting assemblies, rallies, street processions or demonstrations), was sentenced to a fine of 5,766,300 soms, which at the official rate is US $2,597. At the trial, an amount twice as less as what was indicated in the decree was announced.

2. Umida Ahmedova, born 21 October 1955 in Parkent. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Photo artist and documentary film-maker. Graduated from cultural and education academy in Vladimir (photo and film-making department) and in 1986 from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). Author of documentary films, “Burden of Virginity,” “Women and Men in Rites and Rituals,” and the photo album “Women and Men from Dusk to Dawn,” for which she was sentenced in February 2010 on charges of “insult” and “libel.” The court did not specify a punishment, since immediately after being sentenced, she was amnestied. (The Supreme Court of Uzbekistan has yet to review her appeal to date.)

Under administrative arrest from 29 to 30 January 2014. By decree of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases on 30 January under Art. 201 of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability was fined 2,402,625 soms (US $1,082). (This amount was announced in court, but Ahmedova did  not receive the decree. It is possible that it contains the amount US $2,597.)

3. Alexei Ulko was born on 26 February 1969 in Samarkand. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Lives in Tashkent. Education: Uzbek State University of World Languages (Tashkent) and College of St Mark and St John (Plymouth, Great Britain). Teaches English at the British Council in Tashkent.  

Under administrative arrest from 29 January through 14 February 2014. By decree of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases on 30 January under Art. 201 of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability, was arrested for 15 days, and served the term in full.

4. Ashot Dannelyan, born 6 November 1983, in Tashkent. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Lives in Tashkent. Leader of the rock group Wings of Origami.

Under administrative arrest from 29 January to 8 February 2014. By decree of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases, on 30 January, under Art. 201 of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability, was arrested for 15 days, and released after 8 days.

5. Gulsum Osmanova, born in Baku. Lives in Tashkent. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Not subjected to administrative punishment, does not figure in the court decree.

6. Ilgar Gasymov. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Permanent resident of Tashkent. Member of the rock group Wings of Origami.

Under administrative arrest from 29 to 30 January 2014. By decree of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases, on 30 January under Art. 201 of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability was fined 5,766,300 soms ($2,597). At the trial, the amount announced was twice as less as that indicated in the decree.

7. Artem Lyudny, born in Kiev. Citizen of Ukraine. Permanent resident of Tashkent. Worked in an advertising company. Studied sociology at International Solomon University.

Under administrative arrest from 29 January through 5 February 2014. By decree of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases, on 30 January under Art. 201 of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability, was arrested for 15 days, and released after 8 days.

8. D.B. (At the request of the petitioner, I am not indicating his name). Citizen of Uzbekistan. Permanent resident of Tashkent.

Under administrative arrest from 29 through 30 January 2014. By decree of the Khamzin Court for Criminal Cases, on 30 January under Art. 201 Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Administrative Liability, was fined 4,805,250 sums ($2,165). At the trial, the amount announced was twice as less as what was indicated in the decree.

On 17 February 2014, Bakhritdinova filed an appeal to the city court. There is no official notice yet of the date of the trial and its decision.

The participants in the action were sent court summons. They stated that on 4 April 2014 they must appear
before the judicial executor A.A. Tilavov. In the event they fail to appear without a valid reason, a fine of 961,050 sums will be imposed on them in accordance with Art. 198 (Non-fulfilment of the lawful demands or obstruction of the fulfillment of official duties of a representative of the government) of the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Administrative Liability and Art. 82 (Liability for non-fulfillment of an executive document and obstruction of its executor) of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan (“On the execution of judicial acts and other bodies). The decision of the court regarding the participants in the action went into force on 17 February 2014, but none of them have received an official notice of this yet.
  • System
As has been proven by practice, in Uzbekistan, administrative punishment becomes a formal basis for restricting the rights of the active part of the population. They are arrested for a period of up to 15 days; the amount of the fine can exceed activists’ annual salary. Often, criminal prosecution will follow administrative punishment. Human rights defender Fakhriddin Tillayev has found himself in this situation. In September 2013, he was arrested for 15 days and fined, and then sentenced to imprisonment for more than 8 years.

The situation of Sergei Naumov, a freelance correspondent for the online publication Fergana.ru is also alarming. The city court in Urgench issued a decision on 21 September 2013 at an open court session regarding actions he had supposedly committed, characterized as “petty hooliganism and violation of public order” (Art. 183 of the Administrative Code of Uzbekistan). Sergei Naumov spent 12 days of arrest in inhumane conditions. His attempts to appeal the court decree were unsuccessful due to pressure placed on his attorney and Naumov himself. From several indications, at the present time the interest on the part of government agencies in him is growing, which is leading to a restriction of his rights and mean that conditions may exist for a new provocation.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia believes that regarding the participants in the public action “For Free Ukraine,” the following are violated:
Constitution of Uzbekistan, in particular:
- Art. 29 – “Every citizen has the right to freely express his opinion”;
-Art. 33 – “Citizens have the right to exercise their civic activity in the form of rallies, assemblies and demonstrations in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.”
International Covent on Civil and Political Rights, in particular:
- Art. 19
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
- Art. 21
1. The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia has sent the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, the European Union special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and the European Union Special Rapporteur on Central Asia, international human rights organizations and diplomats of democratic countries a statement on the non-observance of obligations under international human rights agreements.



See also:  Press Release Uzbekistan: 6 picketers arrested, their whereabouts remain unknown from 30 January 2014.




4.4.14

Statement on the Poisoning of Malohat Eshankulova

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia received by e-mail a message marked “SOS” stating that Malokhat Eshankulova, head of the Birdamlik movement in Uzbekistan, is seriously ill. Further, the statement said Eshankulova has been poisoned by the Uzbek authorities, has great difficulty moving around and is rapidly losing weight – 15 kg in recent months. Recently, Eshankulova traveled to Samarkand to visit her mother, in order to say goodbye to her before death.


The author of the petition asks diplomats to provide medical assistance to Eshankulova, and calls on people of good will to show solidarity by signing the petition.

Such alarming news has provoked serious concern, therefore our representative in Uzbekistan visited Malokhat Eshankulova. The meeting took place in the Birdamlik Movement office. Eshankulova was there with her daughter. Indeed she did look thin and explained this as due to a liver ailment. She admitted that she had not gone to Uzbek doctors and prefers care from a physician living in Turkey. Eshankulova did not state that the Uzbek authorities had poisoned her, and did not present any documented conclusions from doctors about poisoning.

Experts of our Association have not found persuasive the claims of Eshankulova in her statement that she was poisoned in revenge for her political activity, and have found it inappropriate and pointless to accuse someone of a crime. Eshankulova has long been undergoing stress, which might provoke her emotional reaction or even panic. Therefore, we do not believe that she is deliberately lying.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia is an independent organization and reserves the right to verify information received, to provide a legal evaluation and freely express its opinion.


We do not believe it is necessary to comment on emotional evaluations. We remind our opponents that  intolerance to criticism and heightened self-regard lower trust in their statements.



8.3.14

Uzbekistan: Two Human Rights Defenders Imprisoned for 8 Years, 3 Months

A trial took place in Tashkent of human rights advocates Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov. They were falsely accused of “trafficking in persons” and sentenced to 8 years and three months.

On 6 March 2014, in Tashkent in the Shayhantaur District Court for Criminal Cases, the trial of two members of the Mazlum Human Rights Center took place: Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuriddin Jumaniyazov. They were charged under Art. 135 of the Criminal Code (“trafficking in persons”). The prosecutor asked for 12 years of imprisonment. The court sentenced both the human rights advocates to 10 years and 8 months of imprisonment and applied the amnesty act passed by the Senate of Uzbekistan. The final term of punishment was thus 8 years and 3 months of imprisonment. 

Fakhriddin Tillaev
Fakhriddin Khabibulloevich Tillaev was born on 15 August 1971 in the city of Baysun of the Surkhandarya Region of Uzbekistan. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Married. Two children. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Maslum Human Rights Center. Since 2005, he has been involved in the defense of labor rights in Surkhandarya Region. In 2012, he was one of the founders of the Union of Independent Trade Unions for support of labor migrants (the director is Abdulla Todjiboy- ugly).

Nuraddin
Djumaniyazov
Nuraddin Reimbergenovich Djumaniyazov, born 8 October 1948, in the city of Turtkul, Karakalpak ASSR, Uzbekistan. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Divorced. Two children. Since 2003, has been a member of the Maslum Human Rights Center. In 2012, took part in the creation of the Union of Independence Trade Unions for support of labor migrants and headed its Tashkent chapter.

  • Investigation
On 14 February 2014, the face-to-face interrogation of Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov took place. On the same day, they were charged, the preliminary inquiry was begun and completed, and the case was transferred to the prosecutor’s office. The accused and their attorneys were not given time to familiarize themselves with the criminal case. The excessive speed of the investigative measures grossly violated the code of criminal procedures of Uzbekistan.

On 2 January 2014, Tillaev and Djumaniyazov were arrested with the sanction of the court, but the materials of the arrest case were dated 4 January. This is not the first case of falsification of the date of arrest in the practice of Uzbekistan.
  • Torture
On 21 January 2014, during a meeting with his attorney Polina Braunerg, Tillaev said that he could not hear out of his right ear and that it was bleeding periodically. Then he reported that he had been forced to stand for hours under a faucet from which water dripped on his head. This caused a severe headache. The torturers also stuck needles between his fingers and toes.

When she learned of the torture, the lawyer appealed the same day to the investigator with a petition for forensic medical examination. Yet not until 5 March did she receive a reply from the investigator. He reported that he had sent her petition to Tashkent Prison, where Tillaev was being held, but only the prison administration could review it. In the event of a refusal, the attorney could send an inquiry to the head of the investigative division of the Interior Ministry of Uzbekistan. Likely, in this way, the investigator was trying to delay the assignment of a forensic medical examination.

In the materials of the criminal case, there were inquiries from Tillaev’s attorney on the conducting of the examination. The conclusion is missing from the materials of the case; therefore it was not mentioned in court, and experts did not take part in the proceeding. All of this was done so that the court would not even have the opportunity to take into account the complaints on the use of torture.
  • Trial
Tillaev’s attorney Polina Brauberg learned of the date of the trial in the afternoon of 5 March 2014, that is, with less than a day’s notice. In fact, she learned this accidently, when she went to the Shaykhantaur Court for Criminal Cases for another case. The trial was scheduled for 11:00 a.m., but it began after 13:00 and lasted until 17:00. The court proceeding took about five hours, and was taped by a cameraman from UzTV Channel One.

The prosecutor came to the trial with a triumphant expression, and apparently knew about the videotaping. According to witnesses, she was not familiar with the criminal case and looked through it from the hands of Judge Sanjar Muhammadov.

The “victims” took part in the trial. They informed the court that they had not seen Tillaev and had no relationship to him whatsoever. They confirmed that they had asked Djumaniyazovto give them the address of a southern Kazakhstani firm where they could ask about placement for temporary work. Without compensation, he connected them to a job placement agent in Chimkent (Kazakhstan).  In the case file, there is information that the “victims” Erkin Erdanov and Farhod Pardayev had freedom of movement, and access to international telephone communication. At their request, part of their wages was transferred from Kazakhstan to the account of relatives in Uzbekistan. Erdanov and Pardayev were offered free housing and meals. They were paid a salary for 25 days.

Their colleague Abdulla Tojiboy-ugly spoke particularly actively at the trial, and essentially took the side of the prosecution. He shouted and hurled insults at the defendants. Even the judge noted that Todjiboy-ugly was obliged to answer the questions of the court and not give an appraisal of the actions of the defendants.

On that same day, the prosecutor read the indictment and the court opened the pleadings.

At the end of the court session, the sentence was read out.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) notes that the trial of the human rights defenders Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov was not independent or impartial. The sides were not equal in the trial and the tilt toward the prosecution predominated, that is, the court essentially supported the prosecution. Under such circumstances, the evidence cannot be examined.
   - The defense had the opportunity to be present during the investigation and 5 hours in court;
   - Tillaev and Djumaniyazov did not have time to familiarize themselves with the materials of the case, which violated their right to defense;
   - The court reviewed the case extremely fast. It accepted groundless evidence from the prosecution, which relied not only on the testimonies of the “vicims”; the latter could not prove that they had been subject to force during their work for a southern Kazakhstani firm. In the materials of the case, there was no information about inquiries from the investigation to Kazakhstan, no information about how the victims had not been paid for their labor, that the employers restrained them or deprived them of their freedom of movement, or any other qualifying signs for such a crime as trafficking in persons.

The Association of Human Rights of Central Asia (AHRCA) has sent a report:
          - to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
          - to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
          - to the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers
          - to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
          - to the EU Special Representative on Central Asia
          - to the EU Special Representative on Human Rights
          - to the governments of democratic countries

We urge you to call on the government of Uzbekistan to fulfill the international agreements it has ratified in the area of human rights, including the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Forms of Treatment and Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Previously we had written about this case in the press release “Uzbekistan: Fakhriddin Tillaev, a human rights activist is under threat of long term imprisonment” on 17 February 2014.



6.3.14

Over the Last Year, the Situation in the Kazakh Service of RFE/RL Has Not Improved

Interim Managers of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
John Giambalvo and Nenad Pejic

(Appeal №2)

Copied to:
Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Jeff Shell 

Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors Steve Linick

                                                                                                                          
Dear John Giambalvo and Nenad Pejic,

In recent days we have been planning to release our second open letter to your predecessor, Mr. Kevin Klose, President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, expressing our disappointment. For the whole year, he didnot responded to our first letter, however, the issues which we wrote about inour letter of 15 May 2013, are getting worse

We call on you to investigate, without delay, the numerous appeals and complaints regarding the work style of the directors of the Kazakh, Tajik and Turkmen Services of RFE/RL. These services are systematically violating the labour rights of correspondents and journalists who have dared to protest against violations of the principles of editorial policy. They have suffered harassment and dismissals.

The U.S. administration considers Central Asian countries as strategic partners. Perhaps, therefore, the crimes against humanity committed by the dictators in the region have gone unnoticed.

The lack of response on your part is puzzling. We have already noted facts that require a legal assessment:

1) The Kazakh Service of RFE/RL is white-washing the image of dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, and actively takes part in actions of state propaganda.

2) Materials broadcast by the Kazakh and Turkmen Services of the RFE/RL replicate the lies and official information of the government press.

3) The Kazakh Service of RFE/RL actively and openly cooperates with the NGO WikiBilim in Astana. This is a state-funded organisation which produces the Kazakh-language section of Wikipedia.  Articles produced by the organisation are of pro-government nature, find the details in the announcement published on May 15th, 2013.

4) The site of the Kazakh Service of RFE/RL continues to operate the notorious entertainment sections “Wifi-25" and "Chat Aitys" which propagates outright vulgarity. There are other vulgar and obscene materials also found in the social networks pages of the Kazakh service.

5) The section titled "Nowruz Aitys" [Наурыз Айтыс] , started in 2013, is filled with racism, chauvinism, homophobia and vulgarity. It disseminates recordings of the competition held by the Government of Kazakhstan. The materials contained in this section call for the re-drawing of the border of Kazakhstan, and contain incitement of hatred towards foreigners and the neighboring nations, for example:
 - Begarys Shoybekov, a poet, tells his rival in the competition that she has become as ugly as a "Sart". (In the original Kazakh: «Сүйкімсіз болып кеттің ғой сарттай болып». The word "Sart" in Central Asia is a pejorative reference to ethnic Uzbeks.
 - The poet Birzhan Baytuov expresses his dislike for the Chinese, who, according to him, are invading Kazakhstan under the guise of oil investors, and the number of "slit-eyed" has grown in Almaty, in the West and the South of Kazakhstan. He compares the Chinese to midges that sit on the collars of the Kazakhs. (In the original Kazakh: «Батысымда мұнайды себеп қылып»
         Шіркедей қонып алды жағамызға
Міне енді оңтүстікке қадам басты
Бұған қарсы бір айла табамыз ба?»)
         (translation from the Kazakh:
 «The Midges have settled on our collars
Under the pretext of oil exploration in my  West.
Now here they come to the South,
Will we be able to oppose this?»

-  According to the authors of "Nowruz Aitys", Tashkent and Orenburg are supposedly Kazakh cities "unfairly given to Uzbekistan and Russia"; Nazarbayev is a "good guy,” and the "bad people around him" or "internal enemies" - leaders of the Kazakh opposition Vladimir Kozlov and Mukhtar Ablyazov – are to blame for the difficulties of Kazakhstan.

6) The Kazakh service of RFE /RL started promoting the ideas of fascism and xenophobia through an online conference with representatives of Kazakh nationalist movements that call themselves natspaty - that is, "national-patriots.”
 - On 26 November 2013, Serikzhan Mambetalin, a natspat stated: “It is time to consolidate all the Kazakh nationalists and be prepared for snap elections; as it stands right now, the Kazakh nationalists do not have their own political party”.  At the same time, he stated that all Kazakhs should be nationalists.
 -  Natspat  Mukhtar Tayzhan known for his fascist, anti-Russian slogans, has also been a frequent guest of the Kazakh editors. On 20 November 2013, he stated that he estimated the number of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan had increased significantly and reached 73% of the population. He added that politics in Kazakhstan, in his opinion, should correspond to demographics.

7) The Kazakhservice of RFE/RL violates the requirements of Western journalism and showslack of principle or even betrays the interests of the corporation. On 8 February 2014, Dina Baydildayeva, the Social Networking Editor of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service, held a protest in central Almaty against the arrest of a few activist-bloggers, publicly acknowledging them as her friends. Baydildayeva also demanded the resignation of Yesimov, the head of the city administration or mayor. This action was taken despite the rule that RFE/RL employees should not participate in political activities. On 20 February of this year, Baydildayevapersonally and openly participated in another protest in the center of Almaty according to another video report published by theKazakh service of RFE/RL.  
Dina Baydildayeva often makes ribald comments on Facebook – both in her capacity as an editor of RFE/ RL for Social Networking in Kazakhstan and as a private individual. For example, on 9 September 2013, she posted an article about the wife of the dictator Bashar Assad, and commented, "Beautiful bitch."

8) Various forces within the ruling elite of Kazakhstan create manageable nationalist movements for introduction into the public consciousness of the ideas of fascism and xenophobia in society and in order to maintain "controlled tension.” It is very unfortunate that the RFE/RL Kazakh Service is involved in such dirty political games, because these materials can be perceived by the audience as the official U.S. position . Former RFE/RL employees and opposition activists say that such things became possible after the hiring (under mysterious circumstances) of the former deputy head of the city administration of Almaty, Galym Bokasha in 2010, who also turned out to belong to the same tribe as Edige Magauin, the Director of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service. But the journalists who dared to criticize the practice of tribalism, nepotism and corruption in the editorial office – Saida Kalkulova, Nazir Darimbet, Sagat Batyrkhan and Ukulyay Bestayev – were dismissed in 2012. The social circles of Kazakhstan continue to criticize abuses in the Kazakh Service, but the top management of RFE/RL continues to ignore it.

9) Messrs Edige Magauin and Galim Bokash are making peculiar findings themselves. If any material on the  website of the Kazakh Service attracts criticism, it gets quietly removed or "erased". It happened, for example, with the article "«Өзбекстанда қамалған қазақ сотталып кетті" (translated as "Kazakh Arrested in Uzbekistan Convicted"). Reader Comments on this item contained explicit insults of Uzbeks, but after our previous Open Letter these comments were rewritten, which is unacceptable from an ethical perspective. The same thing happened with the poetic periodical "ChatAitys" and comments on it; in early 2013, editors of the RFE/RL Kazakh cleanedout the word "sperm" and "sauna" following criticism in thepress.

For the last 12 months, Galym Bokash, editor-in-chief of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service, has been receiving praise in a series ofmaterials published in pro-government media. His publications are advertise in the social network Facebook by activists of nationalist organisations such as Mukhtar Tayzhan, Ajdos Syry and Yerlan Karin, the highest functionary of the central apparatus of Nazarbayev's party Nur Otan.

Dear John Giambalvo and Nenad Pejic,

Upon assuming the duties of President or RFE/RL with more than 60 years of experience in the promotion of democratic values ​​in the former communist bloc, we wish you success in restoring its reputation and audience. We hope you will let us know the results of your investigation into the facts set out in this statement.

Yours faithfully,

Nadejda Atayeva, President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia


Arif Yunusov, PhD in History, Head of the Department of Conflicts and Immigration of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, Expert of International Network of Ethnic Monitoring  and Prevention of Conflicts, Expert of Independent Research Council on Migration from CIS and Baltic Countries, Expert for the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia.

Leyla Yunus, Ph.D. (History), Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan, member of the French Legion of Honour, winner of the Theodore Hacker International Award For Political Courage and Honesty.

Sergey Ignatyev, Representative in the USA, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia;
Dmitry Belomestnov, Representative in Russia, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia;
Alisher Abidov, Representative in Norway, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia;


25.2.14

Uzbekistan: prisoner Asrorjon Isajonov on the verge of deat

A typical story of a political prisoner in Uzbekistan

Prisoner Asrorjon Isajonov is on the verge of death in a high security prison colony UA 64/51 (the city of Kasan of the Kashkadarya Region). He was subjected to tortured over a long period of time (for example, he was repeatedly beaten on the soles of his feet), abused and intimidated by Bahodir Hujanazarov, an officer of the colony. 

 Asrorjon Isajonov, was born in 1981 in Tashkent. He was sentenced in 2000 to 13 years under the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan: Articles 159 (Encroachment on the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Uzbekistan) and 244-1 (Manufacture or Distribution of Materials Containing a Threat to Public Security and Public Order). In 2009, 4 years were added to his term, on the basis of Article 221 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Disobeying the lawful requests of the administration of penal institutions); in 2011, further 3.5 years were added under the Article 221 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

While in prison, he works at a brick production plant for 10 hours a day, where his main task is to carry bricks. He earns 10,000 soums (3.5 U.S. dollars) a month. His right to family visits is often infringed. For example, on 16 February 2014, instead of a two-day visit, Isajonov was only given one day. During this meeting, he was depressed more then ever. When saying goodbye to his mother he said that he can no longer tolerate bullying by Bahodir Hujanazarov.

In November 2002, Asrorjon Isajonov’s  elder brother Abbosjon Isajonov, born in 1979, died of tuberculosis. His death occurred 22 days after his release from prison. He was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison under the same Articles (159 and 244-1) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Asrorjon Isajonov’s mother is appealing to various law enforcement agencies and public organisations. She cries and pleads to help her save her son, while he is still alive. She had three children, one son died, the second is on the verge of death, she also has a daughter. Not long after Asrorjon was deprived of his liberty, his father died.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia makes an appeal to:
            - UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,
            - EU Special Rapporteur for Central Asia
            - The Special Rapporteur of the EU on Human Rights
            - Governments of democratic countries.

We call you on to urge the government of Uzbekistan to fulfill its obligations under international agreements on human rights it ratified, including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Uzbek authorities are also obliged to prosecute the officer of the colony UA 64/51 Bahodir Hujanazarov and other individuals involved in the practice of torture.




18.2.14

Uzbekistan: Fakhriddin Tillaev, a human rights activist is under threat of long term imprisonment

Investigation on a criminal case  №22/13-474 was concluded on 14 February 2014. A human rights activist Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov activist of Tashkent Independent Trade Unions are charged with human trafficking, they are facing 8 to 12 years of imprisonment.

Fakhriddin Khabibulloevich Tillaev born on 15 August 1971 in the Baysun District of Surkhandarya Region of Uzbekistan. He is an Uzbek citizen, married and has two children.
    -  Between 1989-1991 he studied at the Tashkent Cooperative College and graduated specialising as an "accountant and economist".
   -  Between 1992-1997 he studied at the Tashkent State University named after Al-Beruni.
   -  In 1994-1997 worked at the Baysun District Department of Natural Gas Supply.
   - Between 1997-2000 he headed the Baysun District Trade Union of Small and Medium Size Businesses.
   - In 2000-2001 he was a head of the Sukhandarya Region Chamber of Entrepreneurs.
   -  In 2002-2003 he was head of the Surkhandarya Region Department of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan.
   -   Since 2003 he is a member of the “Mazlum” Human Rights Centre.
   - In 2004-2005 he was a Chairman of the Surkhandarya Region Department  of Independent Human Rights Organisations of Uzbekistan (IHROU).
   -  In 2005 he founded Union of Independent Trade Unions in Surkhandarya Region, in support of labour migrants.

We are also trying to find detailed information about Nuraddin Djumaniyazov.

  • Le cas criminel
On 28 December 2013 in the Headquarters of the Tashkent City Department of Internal Affairs the first questioning of two Uzbek citizens: Farkhad Pardayev (born 27.02.1969) and Erkin Erdanov (born 07.05.1959) took place. They accused Nuraddin Reimbergenovich Djumaniyazov (born 10.18.1948) of arranging for them to work in Kazakhstan, and their labour rights were violated once in Kazakhstan. According to investigators, they approached law enforcement agencies at the insistence of Abdullah Tojiboy-ogli, an activist of the "Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan".

On 2 January 2014 Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov were arrested. They are held in prison No. UA 64-IZ-1, in Tashkent. They are accused of "organised human trafficking" (Article 135, Section 3, subsection "d" of the Criminal Code of Republic of Uzbekistan).

According to the investigators, Nuraddin Djumaniyazov, at the request of Abdullo Tojiboy-ogli, gave Farkhad Pardayev and Erkin Erdanov contact information of a recruiter for  construction workers - Zhanar Demeuova, in Shymkent (South Kazakhstan).

Farhad Pardaev and Erkin Erdanov arrived in Shymkent on 5 September 2013, where they found Zhanar Demeuova. They explained to her their difficult economic situation. When she realised that they had no experience in this field, she refused to offer them any employment, but after much persuasion, she finally agreed to help. She paid for their room and board for initial period. She registered them in Kazakhstan, so that they were in the country legally. Their passports have corresponding stamps, the passports were immediately returned to them.

Demeuova soon found work with a foreman for them, so that they quickly learned the construction trade. Farhad Pardaev Erkin Erdanov took 15 days to do the work that a specialist usually performs in 5-6 days. Their wages were paid as agreed and on time.

A statement of Zhanar Demeuova, citizen of Kazakhstan, is attached to the materials of the criminal case. According to her testimony, Tillaev had nothing to do with the employment of these two people. The claim by Pardayev and Erdanov does not say anything about Tillaev. But he drew the attention of investigators because he visited Zhanar Demeuova accompanied by Nuraddin Djumaniyazov. Abdullo Tojiboy-ogli is called as a witness for the prosecution.

The hearing of the criminal case is scheduled for the end of February. The State provided Nuraddin Djumaniyazov with a lawyer, Sh. Shakasimov. Fakhriddin Tillaev is represented by P. Braunerg, a lawyer.

Tillaev’s lawyer believes that the Court will support the prosecution, despite signs of fabrication of charges by the investigation, although there is no evidence of "complicity" of Tillaev in human trafficking. The prosecutors for Tillaev combined the punishment which stems from previously filed administrative matter to the materials of case against him.

  • The Administrative Case
On 23 August 2013, at 21:00 hours, an intoxicated naked woman came to Fakhriddin Tillaev’s home in Tashkent. The woman in question lives in the house next door, but the Tillaevs do not maintain contact with her. At that moment Tillaev’s wife and two children were in the house. Soon after, 8 unidentified men knocked on the door, a man who introduced himself to be the naked guest’s husband, led her out of Tillaev’s house against her will. All intruders left. And then a local policeman appeared to have the statement of the woman, in which she falsely accused Tillaev of sexual harassment. The policeman passed the statement to the Chilanzar District Court of Tashkent.

On 20 September 2013 by Decision of the Chilonzar District Criminal Court, Tillaev was sentenced to administrative punishment under Article 40, part 2 (Libel) - a fine of 10 minimum wages, i.e. 1 million 372 950 soums (local currency); Article 52, part 2 (Bodily Harm) - 2 times the minimum wage, i.e. 183 thousand 060 soums; Article 183 (Disorderly Conduct) - administrative detention for 15 days.

In his Appeal, Tillaev wrote that the administrative case materials were collected with a flagrant violation of the law, and the hearing was held in an accusatory manner. He was deliberately deprived of the right to defend his interests, to give explanations, to present evidence, to submit petitions, access to a lawyer. He repeatedly asked the Judge to allow a lawyer to be present during the investigation of the administrative case and proceedings and demanded the Prosecutor's participation. The Court rejected his application ignoring the Article 294 of the Administrative Code (Rights and duties of the person brought to administrative responsibility). Tillaev asked the Judge to give him the opportunity to familiarise himself with the materials of the case, but he was denied even this right, contrary to Article 30 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan, which states that all state bodies, public organisations and officials of Uzbekistan shall allow any citizen access to documents, decisions and other materials relating to their rights and interests.

On 7 September 2013 Major I.Ostanakulov, Senior Prevention Inspector made a report. On 8 September, it was approved by Chief of the Chilanzar District Department of Internal Affairs, Colonel A. Yuldashev. But the Court received it only after 5 days, i.e. on 13 of September, in violation of the Article 282 of the Administrative Code (Direction protocol on Administrative Offense), which indicates that the materials should be sent within one day to the body authorised to hear the case. The Chilonzar Court Judge did not pay any attention to this. Forensic examination of Yu.Lykova was conducted on 3 September 2013. According to experts, on 23 August 2013 she allegedly received minor injuries. The examination was carried out only 10 days later. During this time, all minor injuries could have disappeared while, where the new ones came from is unknown. Moreover, the District Court and local police disregarded evidence given by Tillaev that Yu. Lykova was drunk, completely naked, broke into Tillaev’s apartment and in the presence of his wife and children smashed a computer and a mobile phone.

The Court on Administrative Matters did not take into account other violations:
            Yu. Lykova’s statement is not dated and lacks registration date (л.д. 8-9);
Statement of Ortsuev, a witness of the prosecution is not signed and lacks the warning on the criminal liability for perjury;
Tillaev’s submissions to call his wife and other eyewitnesses who could rebut Lygova’s evidence, were ignored by the Court;
the case contains evidence given by a representative of local Mahalla (community) Sevar Mavlonov, where he said that Yu. Lykova lived there for 10 years and Tillaev - 3 years; Tillaev actually lives there for 10 years, and Lykova - 3 years, with no local police registration. Tillaev tried to prove it in the Court, but he was not even given the word.

In his Appeal Statement, Tillaev writes that Lykova was not held responsible for her acts of hooliganism. He appealed to the local police inspector Major I. Ostanakulov and an official of the Mahalla, but the officials were not available in their workplace.

  • Torture and ill-treatment 
During the administrative arrest, Tillaev was tortured and threatened. He was forced to "confess" that he was a terrorist. The conditions of his detention were torturous in themselves. He was given a loaf of bread for a day, dinner consisted of almost inedible soup. He was only allowed to use toilet in the mornings and evenings. The prison cell contained 25 people, it was dirty and stuffy. Relatives were not allowed to see him, the authorities did not accept anything to be passed on to him.

At present, Fakhriddin Tillaev does not want to talk about his treatment. He fears that his situation could worsen. Tillaev looks exhausted.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, on the basis of the case materials, concluded: charges of "Human Trafficking" against human rights activist Fakhriddin Tillaev are fabricated and the administrative case was used as a way to prevent his departure from Uzbekistan to facilitate the fabrication of the criminal charges. This type of practice against civil society activists in Uzbekistan is particularly prevalent in the last eight months.