25.9.14

And how many such cases are there in Uzbekistan?

Nilufar Rakhimzhanova 
Response to the comments about a story of Nilufar Rakhimzhanova described in the press release of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia “Uzbekistan: a woman convicted of “terrorism” died in prison” dated 24 September 2014

The discussion turned out to be an interesting one. Allow me to join. It feels very strange to me that after learning about this tragic story you are surprised that Uzbekistan is a Muslim country? As stated in the Constitution, Uzbekistan is a secular state. Although a large number of the population are Muslims. Perhaps you should be asking a different question!  A woman, a mother of 4 children died in the women's prison. Why? She was sentenced to imprisonment on unfounded charges of terrorism.

She crossed the border showing no passport, by bribing the border guards. It is not a secret that corruption is rife among the border guards. This encourages people to cross the border illegally in breach of the Article 223 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, this practice is widespread in Uzbekistan. When Nilufar came to stay with her relatives, she went to the Passport Office to get her registered. She told the passport officer that she had a dual citizenship and she lived in Iran, she admitted that this was contrary to the passport control regime in place. The officers in question were obliged to report the case to the authorities, which they duly did. The Prosecutor’s Office instigated a criminal case regarding this instance of crossing the border illegally. 



Somehow, Nilufar was a “convenient” victim for the investigating officer. She was religious, wore hijab, had Tajik citizenship and lived in Iran permanently. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Service, Nilufar is a typical religious extremist and a terrorist. It seemed to her that the Almighty has sent her a kind and gentle investigator, who offered to help. The investigator told her that at the investigative stage of the case she should pay not much attention to what her lawyer might have to say. He claimed to know better how to help her to get her freedom back quicker, because he was an investigator. And, a woman who was frightened, with not much knowledge of her rights or the law, started obeying any orders that the investigating officer gave her. A trial took place. But, did the trial prove her guilt? Who of the observers were present in the hearing? We know that the lawyer took a formalistic approach to her case. The Court sentenced her to imprisonment. There was no appeal of the decision, because they promised her and her relatives that she will get an amnesty and asked not to make a noise about the case.

It is apparent that the case was conducted in violation of the procedural rules. Her relatives in Tashkent are frightened so much that they refuse to reveal the details of what happened even to her husband. They did not want to obtain a copy of either the Sentence or the Death Certificate. Over the last three years, the Uzbek authorities have passed messages via the relatives living in Tashkent to Nilufar’s husband, asking him not to alert the international organisations about her case if he wants her to be released. What is the result? Even after her death, the authorities did not let her husband claim the body.

Nilufar’s story clearly shows that Uzbek authorities use ignorance of the citizens of their legal rights. They deceive and threaten to make them silent and not to approach the human rights activists, international organisations and journalists for help. And then, via the media they control, they create an image of the “Islamic terrorists” using such confused and illiterate people.

Yes, Nilufar was a Muslim wearing a headscarf, she lived in Iran, was an ethnic Tajik originally of Bukhara. But, are they valid reasons for the accusations of terrorism? If she is a terrorist, then why did she not commit any act of terrorism, even though she passed the border illegally three times? She had a Tajik citizenship but did not permanently live in the country. Why was her citizenship of Uzbekistan not taken away? The Uzbek authorities had every reason to do this. No one denies that Nilufar committed a crime under the Article 223 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan (illegal border crossing), which provides up to 10 years in prison. However, apart from this Article she was also convicted for “terrorism”, on the basis of her confessions obtained by deception. And how many such cases are there in Uzbekistan? Even human rights defenders are often charged under the same Article. And, in my opinion, it is important that the public is aware of such cases. Currently, there are millions of Uzbeks living abroad and many of them are ethnic Tajiks, Kazakhs and Karakalpaks. A part of these people living abroad are citizens of several countries, who did not renounce their Uzbek citizenship. If these people hide their other citizenship(s) and violate the Uzbek border control rules, it is important that they understand the consequences. The repressive regime of Uzbekistan makes extensive use of torture and fabrication of charges. I am convinced of this based on my experience of a human rights activities. As in the present case, many victims of the regime take interest in their rights and responsibilities when it is too late. Unfortunately, nothing more can be corrected in the fate of Nilufar. I would like to express my gratitude to her husband and father, who, in these difficult days had the courage to tell us her story so that there would be less of such case. And this is very important.

I did not know Nilufar in person, I just read all the materials available about her and her family’s answers. Her story caught the attention of our organisation, when we started to receive reports of her death. Many of those who are on my Facebook friends list wrote and called us; they are still deeply traumatised by this tragic situation. But now, for whatever reason, they are silent. However, I could not keep silent.

I can not believe that Nilufar was a terrorist. In my opinion, she was a normal Muslim woman. She was 37 years old. She had four very young children. She was raised in a traditional Muslim family, where there is a duty of respect and care for the family and friends. She, like many others, paid little attention to questions of law, it is obvious. Nilufar let the Lord and her husband, who told her not to go to Uzbekistan, take care of all things,.

Now her children are left without their mother. This is a tragedy. And her children will know that their mother was convicted of serious charges which neither the investigation nor the Court proved. They did not appeal the sentence. Those who deprived Nilufar of her freedom assured that she would be pardoned and released to reunite with her children. She believed them. It is unlikely that the children will be able to find out the exact cause of death of their mother. It is very likely that based on the testimony of late Nilufar, the Uzbek law enforcement agencies entered her husband and her father in the list of all countries as potential “terrorists”. There is one more question which remains open, did she give this testimony under torture or not?

In the meantime, the border guard who accepted a bribe from Nilufar continues to work at his position, so do the prosecutor, the investigator and the interrogator and the judge, all of whom were the authors of her baseless convictions. They jointly dub the trespassers as “terrorists” and “extremists”. As of today, the system of fabrication of charges is running smoothly and consistently.


And this practice continues. It is possible that as you read this, in Uzbekistan, they are ruining another person's life. We must understand this and do everything possible so that Nilufar’s fate is not repeated. How? By not glossing over the problems, and by studying the problems and looking for legal ways to solve them.


24.9.14

Uzbekistan: a woman convicted of “terrorism” died in prison


A tragic story of trumped up charges that claimed a life

In a women's prison located in the Zangiota district of the Tashkent region, on 13 September 2014 a prisoner, Nilufar Rahimdzhanova, died. She was accused of “involvement in terrorism”. The cause of her death can not be established. The authorities in Uzbekistan do not allow her body to be given to her father or husband in Tajikistan.

Nilufar Rakhimdjanova
Nilufar Marufovna Rakhimdjanova, was born on 11 September 1977 in Bukhara; she is an ethnic Tajik. In 1994, Nilufar Rakhimdjanova married Yurus Abbasovich Burkhanov, also an ethnic Tajik. They have four children.

Nilufar Rakhimjanova’s husband — Yunus Abbasovich Burkhanov (who creates under a pen-name of Sayidyunusi Istaravshani) is a journalist who writes on topics related to Islam. He studied Philosophy and Studies on Oriental Counties. He is a native speaker of Tajik, Uzbek and Russian; he is fluent in Persian and Arabic. Currently he lives in Iran and teaches Philosophy and some non-degree courses at the Mustafi University of Tehran. Sayidyunusi Istaravshani is also an editor of a website titled «Kemyae Saadat». He takes an active part in the discussions of the processes taking place in the Central Asia and related topics in the social media. He also attends conferences held in the European counties.

Nilufar Rakhimjanova’s father — Maruf Rakhimdjanov is a theologian. He goes by a pseudonym of Domullo Marufdjan Istaravshani. In mid-70s he taught at the Mir-Arab Madrasah of Bukhara in Uzbekistan. He is the author of a translation of the Quran into Tajik and a Commentary on Quran.  In the Soviet days, he was a fellow member of the Uzbek Institute of Restoration. In 1991, he wrote a letter addressed to Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan, in which he did not hide his discontent with the way the Mufti of the Central Asia was dismissed. From 1990 till June 1992, he was the Imam of the Kukaldosh Mosque of Tashkent. After this, he spent more time in Tajikistan. In December 1992, he was arrested by the Tajikistan authorities. During the Civil War, he was released in the process of exchange of prisoners between the guerrillas and the state fighters. He is 64 years old. He writes books, conducts research on religious topics; he translated and published Saadi’s poetm entitled "Gulistan" and "Buston". Tajik Special Forces accused him of “involvement with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)”. These allegations are not confirmed, on the contrary, he criticised the IMU for their aggressive policies.

Iran

Since 1994, Nilufar Rahimdjanova lived in Iran, with her ​​husband and children. From time to time, she visited her relatives in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In July 2011, she left Iran for Tajikistan, to visit her relatives. At some point, while she was in Tajikistan, she called her husband to say that she was going to Tashkent to the wedding of her brother. He warned her that it is not desirable to go to Uzbekistan, because the Uzbek authorities have long been annoyed by his criticism and that of her father, a theologian Domullo Marufdjon. But she decided to go anyway.

The last visit to Uzbekistan

When crossing the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border at the Bekabad City Checkpoint, in November 2011, Nilufar Rakhimdjanova was arrested. As it emerged later, the authorities had a valid reason to arrest her. Ms Rakhimdjanova crossed the border without a passport, by bribing a border-guard and they let her go through. This practice is widespread among the border guards of the Bekabad Checkpoint. She crossed the border in the same manner in 2009, 2010 and 2011, by bribing the border-guards. However, this time, she was handcuffed once in Uzbekistan’s territory. During her questioning, Nilufar Rakhimdjanova told the police that she was born in Bukhara; her father is a famous theologian; she has a dual Uzbekistan-Tajikistan citizenship. She lives in Iran, under her Tajikistan passport, where her husband teaches at the University. At the same time, she still has a valid Uzbek passport issued in 1997. She never renounced her citizenship of Uzbekistan.

Investigatoin and the Trial

Nilufar Rakhimdjanova cooperated with the investigation and was willing to answer all the questions put to her by the investigating officer, who kept reassuring her that he wanted to help her to get back to her family as soon as possible. Allegedly, the best way to expedite the process of her return was to consent to give a TV interview where she will say that her husband is a member of the IMU; he sent her to Uzbekistan to commit an act of terrorism. The investigating officer was very persuasive that this interview will attract mercy; the President will issue a Pardon and she will be able to return home to her family. In deed, in 2012, she did give a TV interview where she repeated all what the investigating officer asked her to say.

During the preliminary and full investigations, Nilufar Rakhimdjanova was not allowed to see her relatives; her lawyer conducted the case just for sake of formality. During her trial, she gave evidence, also confirmed to her relatives, that she repeated what the investigating officers asked her to say, because they promised her quicker return to her family.

The Court sentenced her to 10 years of imprisonment. According to her relatives who were present at the trial, she was sentenced under the Articles 155 (Terrorism) and 223 (Illegally crossing the border when entering or leaving the country) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. She was also accused of spying for Tajikistan. We do not have exact details of accusations against her, because they did not give a copy of the sentence to her relatives.

The lack of access to reliable information

The relatives of Nilufar Rakhimdjanova living in Uzkekistan are very scared and asked her husband not to contact them. They are reluctant to help him in his search for information about the cause of her death and refused to send him her Death Certificate. Her body was given to her brother who lives in Tashken, on conditions that he will burry her quickly and without making much noise. Nilufar Rakhimdjanova was buried in Uzbekistan.

* * *
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia is of the opinion that Nilufar Rakhimdjanova is a victim of trumped up charges of “terrorism” and “spying for Tajikistan” and of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity. It is a known fact to us that discrimination against ethnic Tajiks, especially of those who have extended families living in Tajikistan, has been going on for a long time in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek authorities used her violation of border crossing and passport control rules to generate further, baseless, graver charges. Additionally, these are charges against not only Nilufar Rakhimdjanova but also against her father, a well respected theologian Domullo Marufdjon Istaravshani, and her husband Yunus Abbasovich Burkhanov, who is openly opposed to the Islam Karimov regime. More than 4 years ago, Uzbek authorities applied travel bans against her father and her husband. The fact that Nilufar Rakhimdjanova was forced to give incriminating TV interview against her family shows that she did not have access to legal representation and was mislead by the investigating officers. One cannot exclude use of psychotic substances as use of such chemicals is known in Uzbekistan in cases related to terrorism. According to her relatives, Nilufar had no idea what the IMU was.

Lack of access to reliable information, inadequate legal representation and constant pressure on relatives living in Uzbekistan give grounds for not excluding that Nilufar Rahimdjanova was subjected to ill-treatment not only in the investigation stage of the case,, but also when serving her sentence. It is possible that this is why the authorities did let anyone identify the cause of her death, and demanded a quick funeral.

According to independent sources, before her arrest, Nilufar Rahimdjanova did not suffer from any chronic diseases. But in prison she was ill and was very frightened and tense. One day, she admitted that she was often asked to testify against her husband and father, and that is why she cried often.

Other similar cases

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia has learned that a former General of the Uzbek Army, Border Guard of the Surkhandarya Region of Uzbekistan,  Zakir Hasanov suffered a similar fate. He was born in Leninabad (presently Khojand), and is an ethnic Tajik. He lived and worked in Uzbekistan, had Uzbek citizenship. In 2011, he was suspected of spying for Tajikistan. The authorities also planted drugs on him. The prosecution argued that he was smuggling drugs in conspiracy with the former Afghan army colonel, a citizen of Afghanistan Murtazakul Azizullo. Zakir Hasanov was imprisoned for 20 years, and Murtazakul Azizullo for 15 years. They both serve their sentences in prison 64/21 in the town of Bekabad of the Tashkent Region.

In 2011, the above prison colony was visited by the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Its members met with Murtazakul Azizullo. Through him they leaned that Zakir Hasanov is in need of medical care. At their next visit they added Hasanov to their list of prisoners to visit. On 22 September 2012, on the eve of a new visit by the ICRC, a group of prisoners in the list of the mission, were sent to another prison, Khavast in the Syrdarya region. This was done in order to avoid leakage of information on the status of political prisoners as a result of torture and poor prison conditions. They were registered as in “transit” that will wait for few days before being escorted to another prison colony that is why the information about their location is not recorded anywhere. They were detained at the Khavast station for 47 days and then returned to the colony 64/21. This is the practice of General Directorate of Penitentiary Institutions, who do not want to show the prisoners to the independent observers, especially the victims of torture. Then Zakir Hasanov had to be sent to the Khavast prison. Suddenly he was sent to the Tashkent prison as the accused on new charges, it was 14 September 2012. They kept him hidden from the Red Cross for a long time. In October 2012 we learned that in the Building No.4 of the Tashkent Prison, he died from torture. He was forced very hard to testify that he had spied for Tajikistan.

Our organisation continues to research other similar three cases. That is why we do not publish them yet.

The expulsion of Tajiks from Uzbekistan

Access to the information regarding deportation of ethnic Tajiks from Uzbekistan is denied even to lawyers. We present you the information collected by the applications made to our organisation.

G.B. is a 35 years old citizen of Tajikistan, (the family asked not to be identified because of the threat of persecution of ethnic Tajiks living in Uzbekistan). In 2011, she married an ethnic Tajik who is a citizen of Uzbekistan. In May 2014 she was forcibly deported from Uzbekistan because she missed the registration deadline. Two young children stayed with their father in Uzbekistan. They complaint to the Prosecutor's Office, the Interior Ministry and the Customs authorities of Uzbekistan asking for a permission to be granted for the mother to return to her children, with no success.

Yosimbay F., born in 1948, and Aziz T. born in 1980, both are ethnic Tajiks living in Uzbekistan since 1999. They were deported to Tajikistan in 2013.

We know of more than 14 cases of deportation of citizens of Tajikistan, they were deported to their historic homeland, although they lived in Uzbekistan for 10 or even 20 years. In some cases either children or the parents are citizens of Uzbekistan.



9.9.14

Corrupt National Security Service agents bankrupted a successful business

One of the stories about how the Sharifhodzhaev brothers dealt with entrepreneurs

In late August we received a few reports of death of the former owner of a retail chain "Comfort-Elites" Najmiddin Abdujabbarov, born in 1977.

Not so long ago, they used to speak of him as a young successful entrepreneur and there was nothing to foretell the signs of trouble. The business was run by three of the Abdujabbarov brothers. They established a business of imports from the best manufacturers of furniture.

The JV «KOMFORT LTD» is a network of six outlets in various parts of Tashkent. This business has grown rapidly, but not primarily because of the shortage of furniture or the monopoly in the market. The business growth was ensured by protection of high-ranking officials close to the family of dictator Islam Karimov. Influential people in law enforcement agencies also helped. It was said that the Abdujabbarovs are almost always able to negotiate with the government officials. But it turned out that this is not true.

In 2011 Najmiddin Abdujabbarov was suddenly arrested, his shops were sealed, goods confiscated. A trial took place; Najmiddin, his older brother and a chief accountant by the name of Aziz (we could not find out his last name) were arrested. All were charged with violation of financial rules. It seems that they were sentenced for long terms. One of the brothers managed to escape by going abroad.

According to our sources, majority of persons convicted in this criminal case were subjected to torture and ill-treatment during the investigation. The investigation was conducted in violation of due process, including the procedures for appeal. The investigating authorities, Prosecutor's Office and the Court knew that Najmiddin Abdujabbarov suffered from a fatal disease. But he was sentenced to a long term imprisonment and sent to the prison colony of general regime UY 64/32 in the Pap district of Namangan region. It contains more than 3,500 prisoners. In this colony, he contracted tuberculosis. He was then sent to the Zarafshan regional prison for TB patients, and from there to Tashkent Prison (Tash-Turma). In 2013, he was released for health reasons.

Soon, Najmiddin Abdujabbarov found the strength to start the procedure of appeal. He tried to get his confiscated property back. Abdujabbarov was very surprised to find out that some of the documents transferred their business, and they were signed by him. When could Abdujabbarov have done it? He could not remember, say people close to him. As Abdujabbarov acknowledged, he remembers little of what happened to him in the detention centre of Uzbek National Security Service located in Krasnogvardeyskaya Street.

According to different sources, the officers are known for usage of psychotropic substances and torture. In the past persons linked to terrorism were kept at the detention centre of the National Security Services. But, since the Sharishkhodjaev brothers came here, many other entrepreneurs, including foreign investors, had to walk the corridors of the National Security Services.  

The Sharifhodzhaev brothers invented a property appropriation machine and ruined successful enterprises with foreign capital or private equity in Uzbek. According to the accounts of our applicants, they were forced under torture to assign their property. If they refused, their property was confiscated by a Court order, and then auctioned off to the instigators. The Sharifhodzhaev brothers participated in ruining of many large businesses. Now in Uzbekistan they control almost all of the big business, through officials or leaders of the criminal world, such as Nizam Jumayev whose popular nickname is "Executioner №1».

Our attempts to find out who owns "Comfort Elite" now did not return a definite answer. Most likely, the new owners are legally considered to be bona fide purchasers. The robbed entrepreneurs are unable to protect their own interests, as in the case of the owners of "Comfort Elite".  Najmiddin Abdujabbarov died, his brother is in the Zhaslyk prison, and it seems for many years. Another brother is on the run, and certainly more concerned with how to keep his family and the family of brothers.

That is what happens to those who are not able to reach an agreement with Hayot and Jawdat Sharifhodzhaevys. They become victims of repression organised by the brothers.

Hayot Sharifhodzhaev became widely known after his victorious march during the Andijan massacre. Soon his career quickly took off. On the day of celebration of the 16th anniversary of independence ofUzbekistan, Islam Karimov awarded him the Order of "Shon Sharaf» of IIdegree. His appointment to the post of the First Deputy Chairman of the National Security Service responsible for fighting economic crimes assured Hayot Sharifhodzhaev of his impunity more. He works hand in hand with his sibling Jawdat, who oversaw the Department for Fighting against Corruption and Organised Crime of the National Security Service of Uzbekistan. In 2009, in celebrationof the 18th anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence Jawdat Sharifhodzhaev wasawarded the order of "Shon-Sharaf» of II degree.

For some time the brothers served Gulnara, the eldest daughter of dictator Islam Karimov. Sharifhodzhaevys’ victims include investors from Turkey, Russia, Uzbek citizens with property abroad, such as the Baltic States or Dubai (UAE). They ruined the people and hid them behind bars for many years.

Weaning of successful business has become typical in Uzbekistan. Greedy "law enforcement officers" turn the successful entrepreneurs into "criminals". It is a proven practice in the country, led by the corrupt. The fate of many of the victims is similar to Abdujabbarov’s fate. The owner of the market, "Bek Barraka" is subjected to the same practice, although he was a former employee of the Prosecutor's Office and enjoyed the support of the Karimov family, through one of his daughters. For the time being, he is managing to avoid arrest, but it is unlikely he will be able to keep his property.

The so-called helpers of Gulnara Karimova, Lola Karimova-Tillaevoy, and Tillaev are touring Europe and the United States. In the relevant embassies they are issued a visa as the household staff of the presidential family. All these persons are handpicked by the National Security Services. They are really trusted not only by the daughters, but also by their mother, Tatyana Karimova, a very powerful woman in Uzbekistan. All of their affiliates have several foreign passports. One of these people has a residence permit of the United States, he moved his family there. In the interests of the investigation we are withholding the personal data for now.

There is evidence that two months ago, the household personnel of the Karimovs family was warned that it was time to leave the country. This suggests that all the "revelations" of criminal groups headed by Rustam Madumarov and Gayane Avakian and the Sharifhodzhaev brothers was just destruction. And a reference made to "G. Karimova" in a press release of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan on 8 September 2014 was just an attempt to appease the disgruntled and critics of the regime.

The actively spreading rumours about the resignation the Sharifhodzhaevs brothers are not yet officially confirmed. Apparently, bargaining is still on-going. But no doubt torture of businessmen in the basement of the National Security Service does not stop. No one is reviewing the cases of entrepreneurs convicted by the Sharifhodzhaeves brothers. History of Gulnara Karimova is full of surprises and all the more mysterious, but it has a little effect on the position of the family. Islam Karimov remains in power.

It is clear that under the current regime the law enforcement system will remain completely opaque. And first of all, that is because its representatives, in their pursuit of their personal interests, cleverly conceal evidence of those crimes, and receive high government awards for doing so.

Nadejda Atayeva

8.9.14

Kyrgyzstan: An attack on a minor on ethnic basis

On 26 August 2014, at approximately 18.00 hours, near residential buildings of the Youth Housing

Association at the Karasu district of Osh city an ethnic Uzbek high school student Turginbay Mominov was attacked.

Turginbay MOMINOV, date of birth 04.10.2000, went to visit his grandfather living in Krasin Street of the Karasu district. He was attacked by six Kyrgyz looking young men.

They hit him all over his body. Mominov was brought to an emergency station in serious condition, where he was given first aid, but was refused admission to the hospital despite of obvious hematoma in vital organs.

Turginbay Mominov has been undergoing treatment in a private clinic for 15 days.

The parents of the victim contacted the authorities to register charges for bringing to justice those who caused significant damage to the health of the child.

Turginbay Mominov is still ill, on medication, it is recommended that he lives a relaxed lifestyle. But the police inspector was calling him almost every day. After another such call from the police, his mother perturbed by such a cruel attitude to her child, went to the police station instead of Turginbay. But the reaction of the district policeman was extremely rude and abrupt, he told her: "It is a pity that you are a woman, otherwise I would have showed you how we treat those who complain about the Kyrgyz!".

According to the observations of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, in southern Kyrgyzstan, the cases of attacks on the ethnic Uzbek residents of the city of Osh is getting more frequent. All the victims indicate that the participants of these attacks are young people of the Kyrgyz appearance. They are organised and focused. Law enforcement authorities in southern Kyrgyzstan are extremely reluctant to take up the investigation of such cases. There are many indications that they do not wish to record the facts of crimes motivated by ethnic hatred. At the same time, search for those who inform the international organisations and the media about the manifestations of xenophobia against ethnic Uzbeks has intensified.


5.9.14

Statement on the publications on the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan

In the last three months, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia has received numerous criticisms that we are, allegedly, distributing false information on discrimination against ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan. In addition, we are getting more and more threats, and not only anonymously.

But we intend to continue excursing our right to express our opinions freely and to defend our beliefs.

We are aware that the publication of material in defense of ethnic Uzbeks, many of whom are the applicants of our organisation, are met with great sensitivity in the south of Kyrgyzstan. Such a reaction cannot be a reason to stay silent on the face of threats from nationalists and unscrupulous officials.

We remain hopeful that the Kyrgyz Republic will cope with the consequences of ethnic conflict and engage in active dialogue with the victims of the ethnic conflict.

We remain open to all who may have questions for us. Please do not hesitate to write to us.

Faithfully yours,


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

4.9.14

Kyrgyzstan: another attack on an ethnic Uzbek, and criminals evade the charges again

Azimjon Ibragimov
On 1 September 2014 at 05:30 in the Osh district of the city of Osh, near the "Hasiyat" mosque, Azimjon Ibragimov, an ethnic Uzbek born in 1951, was attacked.

He was going to the mosque for the morning prayer. Suddenly, he was approached by three young Kyrgyz looking guys who called him "You, Sart!". And then began to hit him with full force all over his body.

Currently, Azimjon Ibragimov is in the Trauma Ward of the Osh City Hospital being treated for two broken ribs, a concussion and numerous bruises. The incident has already been reported to the law enforcement agencies, but they are not in a hurry to carry out a thorough investigation.

* * *
Over the past three months, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) received information about 65 people injured in the city of Osh. All of them are ethnic Uzbeks. We were able to establish personal details of and damage caused to 62 of them:

          - deprivation of property (using bureaucratic mechanisms);
          - assault with intent to cause injury and even death;
          - threats aimed at compelling the victims to withdraw the application against persons who have committed wrongful acts. This also applies to victims of sexual violence during the ethnic conflict in June 2010;
          - kidnapping: on 4 September 2014 there was an attempt of kidnapping of a young woman, an ethnic Uzbeks, living in the village of Nariman.

Kabulzhon Osmonov
It causes a serious concern that the law enforcement officials are treating as hooliganism even cases that have become known to the publi. This allows dangerous criminals to evade charges and repeatedly commit unlawful acts associated with ethnic conflict.

Initiation of an investigation is often unreasonably delayed. The case of Kabulzhon Osmonov shows a typical situation in which the victims of discrimination on ethnic grounds find themselves when seeking protection by the legitimate methods.

He was attacked on 4 August 2014; he was given first aid on the same day, they also conducted forensic examination.
On 22 August 2014, the investigator by the name of Ulan (he refused give his last name) during a telephone conversation with the President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Nadejda Atayeva, confirmed that forensic examination of injuries inflicted on Kabulzhon Osmonov was conducted; he is waiting for its conclusions. Without a written conclusion, he cannot establish the severity of the harm caused to the health of the victim. He offered to contact him on this case after five days. All attempts to contact him again were unsuccessful.
On 28 August 2014, we published a press release “Kyrgyzstan: an attack on a basis of ethnicity.
On 2 September 2014, it became clear that a criminal case was filed only after when this case was reported in the media.
On 28 August 2014, the victim Kabulzhon Osmonov and witnesses of the attack on him came under a heavy pressure from the investigators and prosecutors to force them to withdraw their statements for a criminal case.

The practice is as follows: representatives of law enforcement bodies and local authorities say that when victims of ethnic conflict (mainly ethnic Uzbeks) seek protection, they are supposedly trying to provoke a new wave of violence. The victim comes under a pressure to withdraw an application for a criminal case. If he refuses to withdraw his statement, often police officers threaten him with more harm coming from those whom he accuses of crime against himself and his family. They also often extort money from the victims or offer to leave Kyrgyzstan. In addition, the authorities are increasing the pressure on human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers who defend the interests of ethnic Uzbeks.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) continues to monitor and inform the public of the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) urges all interested parties, organisations and the media to pay attention to recent cases of ethnic discrimination in the south of Kyrgyzstan: the cases of Kabulzhon Osmonov, Makhmudjan Nishanov and others. We have to do everything possible so that cases of all victims of ethnic conflict were considered fairly and objectively, and the perpetrators brought to justice.

In the next 7 days, information about all the cases recorded by AHRCA will be sent to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Atambayev, a mission of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations, international human rights organisations.





1.9.14

To the memory of Ravshan Gapirov

On 1 September 2014 at the 59 th year of life Ravshan Gapirov died. He was a head of the Human
Ravshan Gapirov
Rights Centre "JUSTICE, TRUTH", based in the city of Osh (southern Kyrgyzstan). He was born in the town of Karasu
of the Osh region.

Ravshan Gapirov was ill, in the last months of his life. His illness has grown rapidly in the background of deep stress that he experienced after the tragic events of June 2010 in the south of Kyrgyzstan. When confronted with the indifference and irresponsibility of officials, he could not hold back his emotions. But in all situations, he was eager to help anyone who needed and did not lose hope for justice.

Ravshan Gapirov is one of the first Kyrgyz human rights defenders in the south of Kyrgyzstan. His organisation was registered in 1998 and plays an active role on the most pressing issues related to human rights.

The funeral will take place in the village of Nariman of the Osh region at 13:30 on 2 September 2014.

We express our condolences to the family and friends of Ravshan Gapirov.

We cherish his fond memory!

Members of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia