O’ZBEKISTON INSON ОБЩЕСТВО ПРАВ HUMAN RIGHTS
HUQUQLARI JAMIYATI ЧЕЛОВЕКА УЗБЕКИСТАНА SOCIETY OF UZBEKISTAN
(O’IHJ) (ОПЧУ) (HRSU)
27, 15, Yunusabad-4, TASHKENT, 700093; tel/fax (998712) 24-82-47; tel. (99871) 121-74-47
Press Center of Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan
28 January, 2004
To: Mr John Ashcroft,
Attorney General of
US Department of Justice
I am Talib Yakubov, the President of Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU). I represent Human Rights Society, the first in the history of Uzbekistan, which has been functioning for 12 years. Our society is a member of International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (Vienna, Austria).
I am appealing to you, Mr. Ashcroft, with a very important issue, which I wish to start to set forth.
At the present, no one doubts the fact, that after the collapse of USSR, the leaders of the re-established countries in Central Asia, have chosen totalitarian-authoritarian course in development of their countries. Uzbekistan is not an exception in that prospect either.
From very beginning of coming to power, the government of Uzbekistan took the course of suppressing the dissidence of any opposition, whether it is secular or religious. By the end of 1993 opposition organizations like “Birlik” People’s Movement and “Erk” Democratic Party, had to stop their activities, and their leaders had too flee from the country. Uzbek political immigrants are now found in the USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, England, Turkey, Russia, Denmark, Norway, and etc.
Since 1992, right after the election of Mr Islam Karimov to the post of the President of the Uzbekistan, came to existence political prisoners number of which at the moment amounts to several dozens.
Nevertheless, notable loss was incurred by religious opposition. The Repression from Uzbekistan authorities fell upon it mainly from 1997, which still continues until now. According to our information more than 30,000 prisoners of conscience are currently languishing in penitentiary institutions of Uzbekistan.
Two concentration camps were built for them. One of which is situated near Jaslik village of Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakistan, and the other – near Zangiota village close to Tashkent. People who are sentenced for their religious beliefs are subjected to harsh tortures there. Mr Theo van Boven, UN special rapporteur on torture, who was visiting Uzbekistan between 24 November and 6 December 2002, at a press-conference organized by him, announced that the use of torture in penitentiary institutions of Uzbekistan is systematic.
Thus, corpses of hundreds of young people, who were tortured to death have been sent back from punishment execution colonies. As a result, many hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing the country to neighboring states and to other foreign countries.
So, now, it forms a general public dissatisfaction against the arbitrary rule of authorities.
Please, allow me to give one relevant example of prosecuting citizens of Uzbekistan for their religious beliefs.
Muhitdin Inagamov, Tashkent city dweller, had worked at Chilanzar Council and was responsible for giving credits to entrepreneurs. He was a pious person, practicing norms and basic rituals of Islam (praying, fasting, going to mosque, etc.). this very belief served as a ground for prosecution by law-enforcement agencies. He was fired from work. After some time he started working at the Ideology Department of the same Council, and even took up the post of the 2nd Deputy Mayor.
However, law-enforcement agencies were not satisfied. He was taken from home to Internal Affairs Office (IAO-local police department) by policemen in August 2000. He was released after one day. They took him from home to IAO again on 22 December the same year, where he was accused of distributing leaflets of Hizb-ut-Tahrir party. Although M.Inagamov was beaten in IAO, he denied all accusations, and they had to release him.
A policeman, Otabek and his colleagues took M.Inagamov to IAO again on 13 March 2001. Being unable to find any reasons for his arrest, by force they put in his pocket some narcotics and few leaflets. They sent him to the cell for detainees in the basement of IAO. They extort big amount of money for his release. After receiving wanted amount, the prosecutor released him.
A policeman, with the help of the divisional inspector called Ravshan, took him away again in August 2001. His parents had to pay 500 US dollars for his release. Even after that persecutions still continued.
Muhitdin understood, that remaining in the country meant exposing his family to danger and decided to go away abroad. In October 2001 he left for Sweden with his family.
After learning that he left the country, policemen started to blackmail his brother Fahritdin Inagamov. In April 2002 they carried out search in his parents’ house and took him away to IAO. After 3 days he was released.
Provocations continued further. In January and February 2003 IAO employee called Sanjar (tel. +998 71 152 99 90) twice visited Inagamov’s house, demanding to find Muhitdin.
Back then, in September 2002 Muhitdin’s father, Salohitdin Inagamov, addressed HRSU with the request of defending his son’s rights from arbitrary rule of law-enforcement agencies. Carrying out human rights monitoring on S.Inagamov’s request, HRSU established that Muhitdin and his family were subjected to illegal persecution by law-enforcement agencies.
HRSU consider Muhitdin Inagamov’s return home (with or without his will) fraught with great danger to himself and his family. We are convinced that in the case of M. Inagamov’s return home or extradiction, he will face long imprisonment, and possibly even a death penalty. Not because he is a criminal, but because law-enforcement agencies of Uzbekistan can ‘make’ an innocent person criminal.
Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan addressed competent people of Sweden with the appeal to assist Muhitdin Inagamov in obtaining the status of a political refugee from the Republic of Uzbekistan.
HRSU have a few documents available, which are addressed to the ministry of justice of USA by the chief prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Rashitjon Kadirov and the investigator of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, police Mayor Mr Nishonboy Begmanov. They are accusing three citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan in connection with terrorism and extremism, and asking law-enforcement agencies of USA to hand them over to the authorities of Uzbekistan. Concerning these and other individuals, citizens of Uzbekistan, we would like to state the following.
In 1998-1999, a group of talented young men departed from Uzbekistan to USA, who had studied in various Higher Educational Institutions of Tashkent, in particular:
– • Abdullayev Farruh Ayupjanovich, 3rd year graduate of the faculty of International Economic Relations of Tashkent University of Oriental Studies. He departed for USA on 29 August 1999 to improve his English language;
– • Yusupov Behzod Bahtiyorovich, graduate of the faculty of English language of Tashkent University of World Languages. On 12 November 1999 officially departed for USA to improve his skills of English language;
– • Zakirov Erkinjon Abidjanovich, officially departed for USA with the purpose of study on 26 February 1999, the day before his graduation from Tashkent University of World Languages. His trip to USA was organized by “Kamolot” Foundation, funded by E.A.Zakirov himself. Below is enclosed his wife’s letter, Zakirova Sadokat Asatullayevna;
– • Samadov Ismoil Abduhamidovich too departed for USA on 26 February 1999 together with E.A.Zakirov and others, with the assistance of “Kamolot” Foundation;
– • Muminov Otabek Nuritdinovich departed for USA on 26 February 1999 together with E.A.Zakirov, I.A.Samadov and others, with the assistance of “Kamolot” foundation.
This list continues. It is necessary to say, that all these young men departed for USA officially, with authorities’ knowledge, obtaining exit visas of Uzbekistan and entry visa for USA. None of them were accused by law-enforcement agencies of Uzbekistan before their departure to USA. Criminal cases were instituted against them in 2001-2002. From the logic of Uzbek authorities it turns out to be, that abovementioned individuals, departed for USA and became terrorists during their stay in USA.
We think that this logic of law-enforcement agencies of Uzbekistan is insulting for USA. Abovementioned people do not have any connection with terrorism or extremism at all. The report of Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan is enclosed to this appeal, which is dedicated to the Report of Special Rapporteur on torture Theo van Boven, presented in accordance with resolution 2002/38 of the commission “Torture and other cruel, inhumane or dignity-humiliating forms of treatment and punishment”.
We hope that our report will clarify many things, and respected American lawyers and other specialists will find it useful and reliable.
Dear respected Mr. Ashcroft! We call upon You and all officials from the US Department of Justice, directly or indirectly bearing relation to the fate of Uzbek citizens, whose extradition is requested by Mr R.Kadirov, Chief prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, not to take rash steps for the favor of authoritarian, violent regime in Uzbekistan. Their extradition threatens their lives with substantial consequences.
If you would like to make sure, that in Uzbekistan exists and conducts its work Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan, You may address to:
– Mrs Acacia Shields, Human Rights Watch in New York,
Acacia Shields/ Central Asia Division
Tel: 212-216-1280 (direct) 212-290-4700 (Main)
– US Embassy in Uzbekistan, Mr Michael Goldman: tel. (+998 71) 120 54 50, e–mail: GoldmanMB@state.gov
– Mr Jurabek Amanov, Central Asia Bureau of OSCE: tel. (+998 71) 132 56 01, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Mr Aaron Rhodes, Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Vienna, Austria. tel. (+431) 408-8822, fax: (+431) 408-8822-50; e-mail: email@example.com
Chairman of Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan