Uzbek Human Rights Activist Arrested
Leading dissident charged with weapons’ cartridge possession after illegal search of his home. According to information received by the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), SHOVRIQ RO’ZIMURODOV was arrested in Yakkabogh Rayon (District), Qashqadaryo Oblast (Province) in Southern Uzbekistan on April 5. In violation of the law, police conducted a search simultaneously in every room and space of Ro’zimurodov’s apartment without eyewitnesses and «discovered» several cartridges from a gun. It is strongly believed that the police had planted these, as has been the case in other investigations involving dissidents and other citizens disliked by the authorities. Ro’zimurodov was charged with possession of an unregistered cartridge for a weapon.
Ro’zimurodov is head of the Qashqadaryo branch of the HRSU. In 1990-91, he was a member of the Uzbekistani parliament. In early 1990, he won election to the Republican Supreme Council, despite strong objections from the authorities. At the first session of that parliament in February 1990, Ro’zimurodov was the only deputy who publicly opposed the election of Islam Karimov as the first President of Uzbekistan. In May 1991, he was arrested and later sentenced to four years in prison. He was charged with the organizing and leading peaceful demonstrations and rallies not sanctioned by the authorities. In October of 1991, Ro’zimurodov was released on probation, but next month he was illegally dismissed from the parliament.
Since October 1996, Ro’zimurodov has been questioned and threatened several times by local enforcement bodies. Authorities demanded that he stop promoting human rights activities cancel his signature on Society’s documents and resign from the HRSU. In spring of 1997, Otabek Ro’zimurodov, Ro’zimurodov’s nephew and a student at Tashkent Agricultural University, was detained, brought to the Internal Ministry’s headquarters and beaten for bringing to leaders of the HRSU Ro’zimurodov’s statement about his harassment in Qashqadaryo.
Director, Central Asian Human Rights Information Network
April 7th 1998