Violence Against Women / Prison Conditions

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Uzbekistan.

Brief description of the situation:

OMCT has been informed by a reliable source about violence against women prisoners, particularly Muslim women, in the jail known as KIN-7 (64/7) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Specifically, OMCT expresses its concern for 7 Muslim women who have been placed in a special punishment cell which reportedly has very poor conditions. Additionally, the information received indicates Muslim women are discriminated against in the prison and are not able to freely practice their religion.

In an open letter, the following 21 women appealed to the President of Uzbekistan to take action with respect to this prison. These women were:
1. Ahmadaliyeva R.A.
2. Abbaskhujayeva N.
3. Tursunova S.I.
4. Olimjonova O.K.
5. Mirzaahmedova M.
6. Musayeva Sh.
7. Najmiddinova I.A.
8. Isakova Z.
9. Rahmanova U.
10. Usmanova N.
11. Hamdamova M.J.
12. Abduvaliyeva M.
13. Yerbalayeva K.A.
14. Gafurova K.
15. Tumanova F.
16. Muydinova O.N.
17. Sultanova R.
18. Sultanova I.
19. Lukmanova D.
20. Lakayeva A.
21. Kurbangaliyeva M.

According to the information received, seven Muslim women have been placed in the special punishment cell (DZO) for requesting that a woman with a severe heart condition receive medical treatment. OMCT is particularly concerned about reports concerning conditions in the DZO. The cell is very small and there is consistently water on the floor of the cell. Occasionally, when there is high pressure, water from the sewage overflows into the cell. The conditions are unsanitary and the food is poor.

The woman in need of medical treatment, Ms. Rakhima Akhmadalieva, reportedly never received any medical attention while she was held in the prison. According to the information, she was arrested because the authorities of Uzbekistan were searching for her husband.

According to the information received, women in prison are not permitted to wear dresses that cover their knees, part of their religious observance, and in at least one instance, a prison employee ripped off the dress of a woman who wore such a garment. It has also been reported that Muslim women in this prison suffer discrimination because they are Muslim, with most violence being directed at them first. The prisoners may only receive visits from their families once every six months.

The President of Uzbekistan issued an order to grant amnesties to many of the prisoners currently being held in Uzbekistan. However, despite the fact that women are the first group mentioned in the President’s amnesty order, none of the women in this prison have benefited from the order. They claim that they have been unjustly imprisoned because they are Muslims and that they do not have the right to freedom of religion within the prison.

OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the women prisoners being held in Tashkent, in particular the Muslim women who have been placed in the DZO. OMCT recalls that the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, in article 4(c), provides that States should “exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons.” OMCT is also deeply concerned about reports that freedom of religion is not observed in Uzbekistan, a situation that is reflected in treatment of Muslim women prisoners.

Action Requested

Please write to the authorities in Uzbekistan urging them to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the seven Muslim women who have been put in the special punishment cell in jail KIN-7 (64/7) in Tashkent;
ii. initiate a prompt, impartial and full investigation into the reasons behind this punishment and guarantee adequate reparation to the women;
iii. ensure that freedom of religion is observed in the prisons of Uzbekistan as well as throughout the country;
iv. protect women prisoners from violence, such as forcible removal of their clothing, and investigate, prosecute and punish all such allegations of violence with due diligence;
v. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

• President of Uzbekistan, Islam Abduganiyevich KARIMOV, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700163 g. Tashkent; ul., Uzbekistanskaya, 43; Rezidentsia prezidenta; Fax: + 998 71 133 7258 (Write on the top of your fax: «Tel.: 139 53 75; 139 82 60; 139 59 29, Prezidentu RU, Karimovou I.A., E-mail: presidents_office@pressservice.uz

• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sodiq Solihovich Safoyev, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700029 g. Tashkent; pl. Mustakillik, 5; Ministerstvo inostrannykh del RU, S.S., Uzbekistan, Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17

• Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Sayora Rashidova, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700035 g. Tashkent; ul. Xalqlar Dostligi, 1; Oliy Majlis RU; Upolnomochennoy po pravam cheloveka pri Oliy Majlis; Rashidovoy S., Uzbekistan, E mail: ombudsman@uzpak.uz / office@ombudsman.gov.uz

• Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Predsedatelyu Fakhreddinovoy, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700183 g. Tashkent; ul. Abdulla Kodiri, 1; Verkhovny Sud Respubliki Uzbekistan

• General Procurator of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Rashidjon Hamidovich Kodirov, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700047 g. Tashkent; ul. Gulyamova, 66; Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan; Generalnomu prokuroru Kodirovou R. Kh, Fax: + 998 71 133 39 17

Please also write to the embassies of Uzbekistan in your respective countries.

Geneva, July 31, 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

Javob berish

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