28.8.14

Kyrgyzstan: an attack on a basis of ethnicity

Osh, ​​another attack motivated by ethnic hatred on an individual

Kabulzhan Osmonov
Kabulzhan Osmonov was born in the south of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic in 1970, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, an ethnic Uzbek. He resides in the Navoi Street and works as a caster at the Osh Pump Plant.

On August 4th, 2014 at 12:30 pm Kabulzhan Osmonov was returning from lunch break to work at the Osh Pump Plant on Absamatov Masaliev Prospect. At the gates of the company he was stopped by an unknown young man of Kyrgyz appearance who addressed him, saying, "Hey Sart, stop!". Osmonov stopped and immediately received a few strong blows from the stranger to his face and other body parts.

Kabulzhan Osmonov managed to escape into the factory and get away from the attacker, but was immediately caught up with a few more men of Kyrgyz appearance. Since Osmonov was punched in the face, he does not know exactly how many attackers were there. The Nationalists kicked him with all their force, delivering blows all over Osmonov’s body, until he lost consciousness.

After learning of the attack, the director of the Osh Pump Plant urgently organised a transport to take the victim Osmonov to an A&E unit. He was given first aid, but was refused admission.

Osmonov lies at home with severe headaches and numerous bruises. He does not have money for treatment. The company where he works, pays him for the job by the jobs completed, and does not pay for sick leave.

On August 5th, 2014 Kabulzhan Osmonov wrote an explanatory statement at the office of the district inspector of the Osh City Police Department (located on Akbura Street).

Law enforcement agencies have not yet instigated a criminal case on the fact of Kabulzhan Osmonov sustaining injuries. Investigator relied on the absence of the forensic medical examination. This forensic conclusion is still not issued after three weeks, which delays the investigation of the crime. During a call, the investigator was willing to answer our questions. And said that it is easy to find the attackers, as they have a surveillance camera record of the hotel "Beijing" in front of the scene. But he is convinced that Kabulzhon Osmonov suffered a crime not motivated by ethnic hatred. The investigator said that many ethnic Uzbeks find it  almost easy to claim that the attacks on them were ethnically motivated.

According to recent reports available to the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, the case of the attack on Kabulzhon Osmonov is not an isolated incident when the nationalists can avoid liability for crimes motivated by ethnic hatred.

On August 16th, 2014 in the morning at a wholesale market on the west side, where they sell melons, an ethnic Uzbek was severely beaten. The victim refused to give a statement to the prosecutor in relation this attack, because he believes that it is useless. At the request of the victim, we do not disclose his name. Last year also, he was beaten on basis of ethnic hatred, and because of threats from his attackers he took the blame. The victim gave the inspector a bribe of 20 thousand soms, to get his statement back and the criminal case closed.

On August 17th, 2014, about 20:00 hours, in the city of Osh a TV journalist of the "Intimak TV", Davran Nasibhanov, became the latest victim of ethnic hatred. He went out to buy some bread, and he was approached by 4 people of Kyrgyz appearance in the street near the "House Services", where there are retail shops. They blocked his way and demanded money from him. When Davran refused to pay them, they first insulted him verbally and then beat him up very severely. As a result, he suffered a broken rib, a concussion and numerous bruises. Davran Nasibhanov asked for help in Osh city hospital where he was treated and questioned on what had happened to him. When the hospital learned that he had been attacked on the grounds of ethnic hatred, they refused to admit him to the hospital. The official reason given was lack of available beds.

On the basis of the information available to us, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia concludes that the attacks on ethnic Uzbeks often are not investigated, because they are recorded as "hooliganism." The attempts of the victims to bring the perpetrators to justice are turned against them and create even more stress in the society.



21.7.14

Uzbekistan: Human rights defender Chuyan Mamatkulov subjected to torture

 Human rights defender Chuyan Mamatkulov was beaten 20 times on the head with a baton and then was placed in a solitary confinement treated with chloramine. His life and health are at risk. Intervention by the international community is necessary.
State of Chuyan Mamatkulov’s health is alarming. He sustained a head injury as a result of blows to his head, he underwent a surgery. Mamatkulov is suffering from severe headaches for more than a month. During this time he was given only a few tablets of paracetamol, he is not under a medical observation.

Chuyan Mamatkulov previously had one of the bones of his skull removed, so he had a 2nd  group disability. Three weeks after his arrest, on 25 September 2012, under pressure from prosecutors and investigators, he was deprived of his disabiled status. For two years in prison Mamatkulov lost his teeth and began to suffer from pain in the lower back and legs, especially in cold weather.

In effect, an official of administration of the colony UYA 61/29 in Navoi Region is commiting extrajudicial killing. His real name and rank cannot be established, he calls himself Sherali.

Chuyan
MAMATKULOV
Chuyan MAMATKULOV was born on 15 January 1970 in the village of Kasan of the Kashkadarya region of Uzbekistan. He is married and has two young daughters.

Since 2004, he is a member of the Kashkadarya department of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan - HRSU headed by Talib Yakubov.

In 2000 he was dismissed from the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan. Mamatkulov had four disciplinary actions taken against him and then he was fired. However, he was not afforded a chance to familiarise himself with the charges against him. Attempts to appeal this direct violation of the labor code failed. 

In 2005 Chuyan Mamatkulov was first to file a suit against the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. He claimed that as supreme commander, on 9 October 1996, Karimov approved the disciplinary regulations of the armed forces of Uzbekistan and therefore, is directly responsible for the violation of the rights of servicemen. Mamatkulov’s position was supported by Uzbek human rights activists and independent journalists. A judicial authorities under various pretexts rejected his appeal. In this long lawsuit Mamatkulov took a principled stand.

On 29 August 2012 he was arrested.

On 8 February 2013, the Kashkadarya Regional Criminal Court sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment. He was charged under Articles 137, part 2 subsections "b", "c" (Kidnapping); 138, part 1 (Forced false imprisonment); 159, part 1 (encroachment on the constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan); 168, part 2, subsection "c" (fraud), 228, part 2, subsection "b" (Production, forgery of documents, stamps, seals, forms, and their sale or use); 238, part 3 (Perjury); 244 (manufacture or distribution of materials containing a threat to public security and public order). He is serving a sentence in the colony 64/29 in the Navoi region.

Chuyan Mamatkulov’s case requires urgent intervention of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other international bodies.

It is urgent to:
 ensure the humane treatment of prisoners and stop Chuyanov Mamatkulov’s   torture;
 provide him with adequate medical care;
 reconsider his case before an independent and impartial Court

On 20 April 2014 Chuyan Mamatkulov tried to send another appeal of his case, this time to the chairman of the National Security Service, Rustam Inoyatov. This appeal was received by Asror Radjapov, chief of the Kashkadarya region security services the SNB. The human rights defender denies the accusations and says that they are brought by order of the authorities and describes all of the obstacles faced when trying to appeal the verdict.

Chuyan Mamatkulov is often tortured and forced to accept the accusation. He is beaten by not only members of the administration. There are also convicts who, on the instructions of the authorities, organise provocations against the political prisoners, or even perform contract killings.

Chuyan Mamatkulov’s last family visit was on 19 June 2014. Instead of a whole day, Mamatkulov and his wife were given only five hours for the meeting. According to his wife, his health is very poor. He is detained in conditions comparable to torture. Such moral and physical torture is particularly pernicious for a sick man as Mamatkulov.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia believes that, in respect Chuyan Mamatkulov, the following legal provisions are violated:
  • Тhe Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, namely:
     — Article 26 – «No one may be subject to torture, violence or any other cruel or humiliating treatment»;
     — Article 29 – «Everyone shall be guaranteed freedom of thought, speech and convictions»;
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, namely: 
     — Article 7 – «No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment»;
Article 19 – «1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference»;

  • Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
  • Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment:
   — Principle 1 – «All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person»;
   — Principle 6 – «No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment»;
   — Principle 21 – «1. It shall be prohibited to take undue advantage of the situation of a detained or imprisoned person for the purpose of compelling him to confess, to incriminate himself otherwise or to testify against any other person. 2. No detained person while being interrogated shall be subject to violence, threats or methods of interrogation which impair his capacity of decision or his judgement. <..> ».

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA requests governments, international and intergovernmental organisations to urge the government of Uzbekistan to provide Chuyan Mamatkulov with emergency medical assistance, including the provision of access to a dentist. This appeal was also sent to:
 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights;
 UN Special Rapporteur on Torture;
 EU Special Rapporteur on the countries of Central Asia;
 EU special rapporteur on human rights;
 Governments of democratic countries;
 International human rights organisations.



10.7.14

Spain: a citizen of Tajikistan is under a threat of extradition

A hearing to consider a request to extradite a Tajik citizen Sharofiddin Gadoev to his country of origin is scheduled for 11 July 2014 in Spain.

On 2 February 2014 in Madrid, Gadoev was arrested by Spanish police following examination of his documents. He lives legally in Spain, in accordance with the administrative rules applicable to persons seeking international protection.

Sharofiddin Gadoev
Sharofiddin Gadoev was born on 19 May 1985 in the Farhor district of the Kurgan Tyube (now Khatlon) region of Tajikistan. He is a Tajik citizen. He has a law degree specialising in International Law. He is married and has a little daughter.

He is a member of the informal political opposition organisation "Group-24."

He previously worked as a general director of the company "Trans Gold Tour" (Tajikistan)

Sharofiddin Gadoev is known to the public as a critic of the political regime in Tajikistan. He repeatedly spoke openly of the facts of malpractice on the part of President Emomali Rahmon and the use of his official position by the president’s family..

Under the threat of violence against him and his loved ones Gadoev was forced to transfer a profitable business to the family of president Rahmon. Because of this conflict Gadoev had to leave for Russia.

A group of Tajik businessmen led by Umarali Kuvatov, including Sharofiddin Gadoev created a political organisation named "Group of 24" in Russia. Gadoev informed the public about the legal mechanisms to fight against the corruption that exists in the higher echelons of power in Tajikistan and the obligations of Tajikistan in the field of human rights protection.

Response to Sharofiddin Gadoev’s activities followed quickly. Tajik law enforcement agencies declared him wanted for alleged economic crimes. However, the analysis of these documents revealed many factual inconsistencies and violations of legal logic common to fabricated criminal charges.

In Tajikistan, practice of torture is widespread, the judiciary is subservient to the executive, any lawyer defending  a person representing the opposition finds his licenses withdrawn and even prosecuted on fabricated charges. Therefore, the forced return of Gadoev to his country of origin threatens his health, even his life and can easily turn into extrajudicial killing of him.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia urges Spain to fulfill obligations under the agreements it ratified:
  • United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, namely Article 3 of the Convention which prohibits the expulsion of persons to countries where they risk torture and ill-treatment;
  • Unated Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees;
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
This information was sent to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.



Kyrgyzstan: 600 residents of the city of Osh saved their jobs. Is it going to last?


"Instructions" 
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia is grateful to all those who showed their interest in information about closing of 53 Osh small businesses owned by ethnic Uzbeks.

On 9 June 2014 our organisation issued a press release, "Kyrgyzstan: discrimination against ethnic Uzbeks continues," which reported on the decision of the State Inspectorate of the Kyrgyz Republic for Environmental and Technical Safety to close 53 small enterprises owned by residents of the Navoi Street of the city of Osh. This is confirmed by a document entitled "Instructions" which was sent to each company on the list we published.

On 30 June 2014 the news agency "Ferghana.Ru" published an article "Small businesses owned by Uzbeks closed" based on the above press release.

On 3 July 2014 "Ferganu.Ru" received a letter from Dilmurod Shamshidinov, the Deputy Director of the Kyrgyz State Agency forLocal Government and Inter-Ethnic Relations. He said that some of these companies were closed due to lack of their respective owners permits.

But on 4 July 2014 the State Inspectorate for Environmental and Technical Safety which issued the above mentioned "Instructions" sent a letter to the "Ferghana.Ru" information agency which stated that the information about closure of 53 small businesses is wrong. The letter signed by T. Nurbashev, the director of this agency, claims that none of these 53 businesses are closed; their owners are instructed to obtain relevant permissions.  

The officials of the Osh City Hall threatened with massacre as in 2010 and forced many of the 53 small business owners to write a statement that they closed their businesses voluntarily because of beginning of Ramadan.

On 1 July 2014 our organisation received, via email, several messages with threats and accusations that pointing to the issue of discrimination of ethnic Uzbeks is inciting ethnic strife. Discussion of our press release on facebook helped to better understand the problem.

The participants who clearly live in the southern Kyrgyzstan explain that:

1. private enterprises mentioned in our press release are located in the Uzbek community part of the city and there are no other ethnic groups in this part of the city;

The city of Osh, destroyed bridge
2. Osh local government with the active support of the central authorities developed a master  plan for the development and construction of the city. It was decided to demolish the dilapidated old bridge and build a new one. The bridge occupies a significant portion the Navoi Street, where many buildings need to be demolished in order to rebuild the bridge. At present many part of the street are excavated. In Osh, there are only 2 bridges, one of them is located in Navoi Street, the second in Abdykadyrov street, the first is a road leading to Batken, Aravan and Fergana. It is very busy;

3. There were almost no companies in Navoi Street before; there were a former pump factory and numerous small cafes, shops selling DVD-drives, small shops that sell wholesale spirits and soft drinks. Authorities decided to replace the old bridge to build a large flyover from Masaliev street to Lenin street, this is a consequence of that and everyone is suffering. One needs to find out locally, why the entrepreneurs are not allowed to trade there. Osh has very active civic organisations headquarters, which includes leaders of many organisations, there are Russians, and Uzbeks and Kyrgyzs among them. We receive a lot of our information from them, and they do not give a respite to the authorities. There are enough problems in Osh, take for example that there is no gas supply in the city since 11 April. The life in the city is not easy; people learn to live on, there is no need to look for the ethnic implications.
* * *

The Navoi Street, 
where the Uzbek community quarters start
From the beginning we said that 53 companies are located on the Navoi Street. The Uzbek community lives in the quarter which begins from this street, which goes between the Railway Station and street crossing the Gapar Aitiev Street towards the hotel "Alai". In the stretch between the Pumping factory and the "Alai" hotel there really were not any businesses.

Owners of the 53 companies opened their business on private land. It was after 2010, after the restoration of property or in new buildings. And the construction of a new bridge from Masaliev street to Lenin street is irrelevant to the closure of these companies. The stretch of road in question contains only public buildings.

In 2010, under the guise of adoption of the new Master Plan of the city of Osh all these objects brought under the "red line". Authors of official replies are well aware that local authorities, referring to the general plan of the city, do not give permission for conversion. Authorities of the State Agency for Architecture, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Unified State Register of Static Units (automated data bank of all economic entities of the Kyrgyz Republic) reject the application for registration of enterprises in the Navoi, Lenin,  Masaliev streets and other areas within the city. This order is strictly enforced against ethnic Uzbeks. Such conditions allow employees of supervisory authorities to extort "fines" in favour of their pocket. In the Navoi Street there are only one pastry shop and a diner still working. Their owners, ethnic Uzbeks, paid a "fine" of $300 for the next month. The regional traffic police and border control officers whose organisation is located on this street usually eat in these diners.

The victims of extortions recognised that bribes are rising and profits do not always cover the costs. Those who do not meet the extortionists conditions, receive a "notification" of business closure. To re-register the company, which is located on the Navoi Street, it is necessary to change to a new address. These businesses use private homes as their business addresses which means that the owners would have to move from Navoi Street.

The Kyrgyz authorities offer ethnic Uzbeks, the owners of these companies, land on the outskirts of Osh, where such business is unprofitable. Thus, closure of these 53 small businesses is actually a way of depriving the Uzbeks, without compensation, of opportunity to work in the community. It is also driving the ethnic Uzbeks out of Osh, where they lived for many generations. Our organisation was able to obtain information only about 53 ethnic Uzbeks, whose businesses closed. In fact the number of people affected in the same way is far greater.

Meanwhile, the owner of the hotel "Crystal", Mukanbek Alykulov, former Member of Parliament of Kyrgyzstan, is developing his business in the Akbura Street, within the precincts of the construction of the new bridge. And they built the road zigzagged to avoid interrupting his business. Apparently, one can find a way out? As it turned out, one does not need to be a representative of the titular nation.

The street bypassing the “Crystal” hotel
The Hotel “Crystal”
Our partner in Osh said that on 9 July 2014 a TV crew was going around in Navoi Street and was preparing a report on the status of 53 small business owners. Moreover, the authorities suspended the closure of these enterprises and their activities are temporarily allowed. 600 residents of the street, for now, saved their jobs, which is important in mass unemployment. We hope that these companies will continue to work further. If the authorities radically change their approach to the problem of the most vulnerable groups, it would strengthen their hope for justice.