29.12.14

“Migrant rights were remembered from Geneva to Bishkek”

“Migration empowers people and is a very important means of facilitating access to resources and poverty alleviation”
Ban Ki-moon


On International Migrants Day, 18 December 2014, there were calls to stop discrimination against migrants at the highest level. In a statement by the High Commissioner of the United Nations on Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein it was noted “One of the reasons this continues, is that labour laws are often not applied in many sectors which typically employ migrant workers, such as agriculture, construction, or domestic work. Refusing to give migrants and their families access to education, health-care and adequate housing is both morally indefensible and practically short-sighted. Equality and non-discrimination are important drivers of sustainable development. Persistent and structural discrimination generates sharp inequalities which threaten the social fabric. No society can develop its true potential when legal, social or political barriers prevent entire segments of the population, such as migrants, from contributing”.

Indeed, migrant workers and members of their families are and often remain unheard by the larger society. Most of them live and work in worse conditions than local workers, it is difficult for them to access the social services, and the rights of migrants are routinely violated by the authorities and employers which lead to extortion, violence, discrimination and marginalisation.

Poor and low-skilled migrants face the highest risks and difficulties in finding work and efforts to improve their living conditions. Many migrants die on the job because of poor working conditions and lack of basic safety measures; their family members (often children) suffer from lack of medical care; migrants are victims of hate crimes.

All these issues are extremely important in the CIS region, where residents of a number of countries are forced to seek employment in more economically prosperous Russia or Kazakhstan. To draw attention to the issues of protection of life, health and safety of migrants, in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, on 18 December 2014 the mission of the International Organisation for Migration in partnership with NGOs, volunteers and students held a rally in memory of the dead migrants from Kyrgyzstan.

650 white and red balloons were released into the sky. White balloons symbolised migrants from Kyrgyzstan, who died in the past two years in countries of destination (according to the official data released by the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry, bodies of 404 citizens of this country were returned home), and the red balloons represented victims of trafficking who were assisted by IOM Mission in Kyrgyzstan between 2013 and 2014.

Every year, the number of dead bodies of migrants delivered from Russia to Tajikistan is growing (the so-called "cargo-200"), the number goes beyond thousands; 80% die from diseases and accidents, and 2% are victims of hate crimes, at least 6% die as a result of other conflicts. There are many migrants from Uzbekistan killed too; often the death of migrant workers do not make it into the official statistics - in fact many are buried in Russia, and even more people are unaccounted for or are missing.

We urge the authorities of Russia and Kazakhstan, the host countries of migrants from Kyrgyzstan and other CIS countries, to implement intergovernmental agreements and the international commitments in the field of human rights and freedoms. It is important to protect a fundamental right of migrant workers and members of their families - the right to life.

We demand the adoption of practical measures for decriminalisation of illegal migration, the development of alternative and improved living conditions for foreigners, ensuring safety of migrant workers and members of their families, as well as providing them with access to health services, social care, education and culture.

It is also necessary to protect everyone’s right to to freedom of association, the right to work, social justice and development.

For reference:

On 4 December 2000, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, the UN General Assembly announced 18 December as the International Migrants Day. Earlier, on 18 December 1990, the General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

International migration is a powerful tool for reducing poverty and improving opportunities. Currently, 232 million migrant workers generate regular income for countries of their destination and origin.

Europe and Asia together contain almost two-thirds of all international migrants worldwide. Europe remains the most popular destination of the regions, and in 2013 its share was 72 million international migrants as opposed to 71 million in Asia. The slogan of the Migrants Day 2014 was "Save lives of migrants!" Particular attention should be paid to the global humanitarian problems which caused thousands of deaths of migrants worldwide.

Viasna Human Rights Centre, (Belarus), Vice-President of FIDH, Ales Bialiatski

«Bir Dunyo-Kyrgyzstan» Human Rights Movement, Vice-President Tolekan Ismailova

Chairman of the Central Asia in Motion Civil Partnership Platform, Akyllbek Tashbulatov

Coordinator of projects on external migration of the «Bir Dunyo-Kyrgyzstan» Human Rights Movement, Aida Bayzhumanova

Counsellor on political projects of the Central Asia in Motion Civil Partnership Platform, Erkin Iriskulbekov

ADC «Memorial», Sankt-Petersburg, leader Stefanija Kulieva, coordinator Olga Abramenko

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Chairman of Bureau’s council – Yevgeny Zhovtis, Director of the Bureau – Roza Akylbekova

Centre on Human Rights (Tajikistan), member of the Central Asia in Motion Civil Partnership Platform, Nodira Abdullaeva

International Human Rights Organisation “Fiery Hearts Club, Uzbekistan, leader Mutabar Tajibayeva

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, leader Nadejda Atayeva, le Mans, France

Working Group on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers of the «Bir Dunyo-Kyrgyzstan» Human Rights Movement, Asiya Kaliyeva, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Blogger of the «Bir Dunyo-Kyrgyzstan» Human Rights Movement, Lyubov Eliye, Kaluga, Russia

Blogger of the «Bir Dunyo-Kyrgyzstan» Human Rights Movement, Ekaterina Nazarshova, Sankt-Petersburg, Russia

If you have any queries, please contact us at office@anticorruption.kg







24.12.14

Uzbekistan: a trial of «traitors of the Motherland» took place



On 24 December 2014, in Uzbekistan, a sentence was issued on the case of the citizens previously deported from Norway. 

On 11 December 2014, just before the trial, in violation of the principle of presumption of innocence, a propaganda film entitled «Xiyona», "Betrayal" in translation from Uzbek, was broadcast in Uzbekistan on the TV channel "Uzbekistan". In the film, the deportees were presented as "false witnesses", "traitors to the Motherland" and "religious extremists".

The Tashkent Region Criminal Court charged 9 individuals. 6 young men were sentenced to 12-13 years of imprisonment. They were accused of being a member of so called “Islamic movement of Turkistan” which is declared to be a terrorist organisation. They were sentenced under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 “Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan”, 244-1 “Production and Dissemination of Materials Containing Threat to Public Security and Public Order”, 244-2 “Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations”, and 246 “Smuggling”. Below are personal details of each of them. Three other were accused under Article 241 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan “Failure to Report about Crime or Concealment Thereof”, Timur Tulkunovich Zaitov, Ikramkhoja Bakhramovich Agzamov, Akmal Akhmadalievich Zakirov. The Court issued a pardon in relation to them. 

All of the accused, between 2008 and 2014, came to Norway looking for work. They could not find jobs in Uzbekistan for various reasons. They used the procedure of asylum to legalise there stay in Norway. Persons who are seeking asylum have the right to work. Norway considered their asylum applications, but did not find a confirmation of them facing politically motivated prosecution back in Uzbekistan. This is a requirement under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. In the spring of 2014, Norway deported these individuals to their country of origin. Three months after returning home, they were detained for 15 days for violation of administrative rules.

During the first six days of the period of investigation in the detention centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, all six people were tortured. They were struck with a rubber truncheon on the soles of their feet, head and torso, electric shocks were applied and they were starved for up to six days. Their bodies still show swelling, one of them has a torn tongue. During the investigation they had lawyers provided by the state, and the lawyer know that their clients were tortured. But none of the lawyers made an application for a forensic examination to be conducted. At the trial, the defendants and their defence said about the use of torture, but the Court ignored all the submissions.

All six defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. The allegation of the involvement of the accused in the banned organisation was built on the testimony of intimidated witnesses. It was stated that one of the defendants watched online videos of religious organisation at in the communal area of their residence, because they all lived in the same shared apartment in Norway. This accusation looks strange also because not all of them know how to use a computer and the Internet. For example, this applies to Shukhrat Ilhamov. Witnesses for the prosecution did not readily recognize the defendants, who allegedly communicated with them in Norway. The Court’s evaluation of the actions committed in another country is not valid; there were no charges against them put forward by Norway. 

Below is the information about the imprisoned citizens of Uzbekistan who were deported from Norway.

1. Asadulla Xayrullayevich RIXSIYEV, born in 1986 in Tashkent. In 2007 he graduated from the Information Technology University. He was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations). In the Trial, he said that he was tortured during the investigation stage of the case.

2. Zafar Salim ogli KARIMOV , born in 1985 in Tashkent. Educated to higher education level. He was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations). In the Trial, he said that he was tortured during the investigation stage of the case.

3. Davron Axrolovich RAHMONOV, born in 1984 in Tashkent. He was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations). In the Trial, he said that he was tortured during the investigation stage of the case.

4. Ahmadjon Muhammadjonovich Creator , born in 1980 in Tashkent. He was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations). In the Trial, he said that he was tortured during the investigation stage of the case.

5. Shuhrat Qodirovich ILHOMOV, born in 1977 in Tashkent. He is married and has two children. He has a secondary education. He was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations). In the Trial, he said that he was tortured during the investigation stage of the case.

6. Jahongir Qochqorovich TOJIEV, born in 1984 in Tashkent. He is married and has two children. 
He was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organizations). In the Trial, he said that he was tortured during the investigation stage of the case.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia — AHRCA:

          — calls on Norway to establish a commission and send it to Uzbekistan in order to examine the consequences of the deportation of citizens of Uzbekistan, including the convicted;


          — calls on the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, within its mandate, to show interest in the fate of victims of torture;


          — calls on the Representative of European Union to the Republic of Uzbekistan, to show active participation in the protection against torture in the present criminal case and to monitor the entire appeal proceedings, following the principle of objectivity and fairness, within the framework of the EU strategy in relation to Uzbekistan and in defence of the values of the European Union.




20.12.14

Turkey: the leader of «Goup 24» Umarali Kuvatov is detained

On 19 December 2014 based on information from an unknown caller, in Istanbul, a leader of the opposition movement «Group 24» Umarali Kuvatov was detained.

Umarali Kuvatov
Umarali Izatovich Kuvatov, was born on 21 November 1968 in the city of Dushanbe. He is citizen of Tajikistan, married, has children. He is an entrepreneur.

In 2013 he applied for asylum via the UNHCR, his application is still pending. 

From  2001 to 2012 U. Kuvatov in cooperation with Shamsullo Sokhibov, the sun in law of the President Imomali Rakhmon worked on shipment of fuel to the NATO base in Afghanistan. As a result of a conflict with Sokhibov, he had to leave the country and became a member of the opposition. 

In 2012 Kuvatov became a leader of the «Group 24» movement,  which campaigns for stopping the President of Tajikistan. 

In 2014 Tajikistan announced the «Group 24» an «extremist organisation».

About 8:30 AM, 7 plain clothed men stormed into the house in Istanbul where Umarali lives with his family. They asked him to identify himself after which they lead away him and other three members of the «Group 24», who were in his house, without any explanation. His house was searched and appliances and a large number of documents relating to political activity of the leader were seized.

It later became known that Kuvatov was taken into custody by the agents of the Turkish Security Forces (Istanbul gayrettepe asayis sube mudurlugu hirsizlik buro amirligi) on the basis of an anonymous call. It is still not identified who or where the call came from. During his interrogation, Kuvatov leaned that his capture was relayed to the Embassy of Tajikistan in Turkey. The Consul offered to help Kuvatov, but he expressed his mistrust to the government of Rakhmon. The detainees are still not legally represented. A representative of the UNHCR has not appeared yet.
  
In a short while, the detainees will be transferred into a department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, because they found some irregularities in their registration in Turkey. These are administrative violations. According to Kuvatov, the Turkish Security Service agents are treating them in accordance with rules and they have not been accused of anything other than the registration irregularities. 

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia  — AHRCA calls on the Turkish authorities to fulfil their obligations under UN Convention on Status of Refugees UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to comply with the procedural rules of Turkish law, namely:

         — provide legal representation of the detained asylum seeker of the UNHCR Umarali Kuvatov three other citizens of Tajikistan: Hussein Ashurov, (01. 02. 1981г.), Sukhrob Turaev (24.11.1978г.), Abdurashid Khamidov (15.12.1989г.);

         — allow the UNHCR representative to meet the citizens of Tajikistan Hussein Ashurov, Sukhrob Turaev, Abdurashid Khamidov as they asked to meet him fill out an application for international protection; 

        — observe the principle of confidentiality in respect of the UNHCR applicants, in this case Umarali Kuvatov, in accordance with the obligations of Turkey under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. 

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia  — AHRCA also sent its report about the detention of the leader of the "Group 24" Umarali Kuvatov and other participants: Hussein Ashurov, Sukhrob Turaev, Abdurashid Khamidov to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the office of UNHCR representative in Turkey and the head office of the UNHCR in Geneva, as well as international human rights organisations: HRW, "Amnesty International" and others



19.12.14

Norway cancelled the decision to deport Uzbek citizens

On 19 December 2014, the Immigration Appeal Council of Norway (UNE) issued a statement regarding cancelation of the decision to deport Uzbek citizens. The decision covers everyone except those who violated the Dublin Convention. The Convention identifies the state responsible for processing the asylum application made in one of the EU countries.

The documentary entitled “Betrayal which was broadcast on 11 December on the state TV channel “Uzbekistan”, found its way into the internet and attracted a wide audience. The heroes of the film were 8 citizens of Uzbekistan, who previously have lived in Norway on the basis of their asylum applications. In 2014 Norway forcibly returned them into Uzbekistan. Once in the country of origin, they were imprisoned and forced to “repent” on their “betrayal of the Motherland” and becoming a member of a “religious extremist group”. Their testimonies were recorded and broadcast on TV.

According the information available to our organisation, 18 people who were returned from Norway were subjected to repressions. Based on their statements, Uzbek authorities extracted information about those who are still in Norway. Now, the relatives of the refugees who live in Uzbekistan are in danger too. Many of them face travel restrictions and are dismissed from civil service jobs.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) expresses its gratitude to the Norwegian lawyers, Norway Helsinki Committee and the Norwegian media for taking stand in support of protection of the Uzbek refugees, also to the Norwegian government for making timely decision which protected the refugees from torture and other violations of human rights in their country of origin. 

Previous press release about this case:
Press Release «Uzbekistan: «traitors of the Motherland» are named» dated 13 December 2014 


18.12.14

Uzbekistan: Probe Prison Death

(Paris, December 18, 2014) – The Uzbek government should free everyone imprisoned on politically motivated charges under its Constitution Day amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. The authorities should also carry out an effective investigation into the September 2014 death in custody of Nilufar Rahimjonova, a 37-year-old woman imprisoned on politically motivated charges, the groups said.

The Uzbek government has imprisoned thousands of people on politically motivated charges, including human rights and opposition activists, journalists, religious believers, artists, and other perceived critics. Some are in serious ill-health or have been tortured, and sentences for some were arbitrarily extended while they were in prison.

“The Uzbek government has imprisoned and tortured some of the world’s longest-held political activists, independent journalists, and other peaceful figures,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Uzbek government should use this opportunity to free all those who were wrongfully imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of basic rights, as well as those whose sentences have been arbitrarily extended.”
  • Constitution Day Amnesty
Following Constitution Day on December 7, Uzbek authorities announced an amnesty, potentially applicable to thousands of prisoners, over the next several months. As in past years, this year’s amnesty applies to those convicted of less serious offenses and to specific demographic categories such as women and prisoners over 60. But those imprisoned on politically motivated charges are rarely released even when they meet the criteria. Even if they are released, however, the amnesty’s terms leave the original unlawful convictions intact.

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch documented that Uzbek authorities have used “violations of prison rules” as a pretext to add years to the sentences of at least 14 of 44 people convicted on politically motivated charges in recent years, and have used the same pretext widely in the cases of many others imprisoned on charges relating to religious extremism. Such violations are often very minor, such as possessing “unauthorized” nail clippers, saying prayers, and wearing a white shirt.

“Some of those wrongfully imprisoned, such as Muhammad Bekjanov, Akram Yuldashev, Murod Juraev, and Solijon Abdurakhmanov, are elderly or in ill-health,” said Nadejda Atayeva, president of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia. “The Uzbek government should widely apply its amnesty program so that they won’t lose even one more day behind bars.”

Among those imprisoned for no reason other than peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression are 14 human rights activists: Azam Farmonov, Mehriniso Hamdamova, Zulhumor Hamdamova, Isroiljon Kholdorov, Gaybullo Jalilov, Nuraddin Jumaniyazov, Matluba Kamilova, Ganikhon Mamatkhanov, Chuyan Mamatkulov, Zafarjon Rahimov, Yuldash Rasulov, Bobomurod Razzokov, Fahriddin Tillaev, and Akzam Turgunov.

Five more are journalists: Solijon Abdurakhmanov, Muhammad Bekjanov, Gayrat Mikhliboev, Yusuf Ruzimuradov, and Dilmurod Saidov. Four are opposition activists: Murod Juraev, Samandar Kukanov, Kudratbek Rasulov, and Rustam Usmanov. Three are independent religious figures: Ruhiddin Fahriddinov, Hayrullo Hamidov, and Akram Yuldashev.

Six others are perceived to be government critics, including Botirbek Eshkuziev, Bahrom Ibragimov, Davron Kabilov, Erkin Musaev, Davron Tojiev, and Ravshanbek Vafoev, and one, Dilorom Abdukodirova, was a witness to the May 13, 2005 Andijan massacre, when Uzbek government forces shot and killed hundreds of mainly peaceful protesters.

Uzbek authorities should order an immediate investigation of all allegations of mistreatment of prisoners held on politically motivated charges, allow for re-examination of the closed hearings in which political prisoners’ sentences have been extended, and grant all prisoners access to necessary medical care and family visits to which they are entitled under international human rights law, the human rights groups said.
  • Death in Custody of Nilufar Rahimjonova
Nilufar Rahimjonova
Rahimjonova died on September 12, 2014, in the Zangiota women’s prison colony outside Tashkent. She had served almost 3 years of a 10-year sentence. The apparently trumped-up charges against her – illegal border crossing and espionage – appeared to have been brought on the basis of her relationship to her father, Domullo Istaravshani, a well-known theologian, based in Tajikistan, and her husband, Sayidyunus Burkhanov, more commonly known as Sayidyunus Istaravshani, based in Iran.

Both are independent religious figures who have openly criticized the restrictions President Islam Karimov began placing on religious worship and the practice of Islam in Uzbekistan in the early 1990s.

Rahimjonova’s husband told Human Rights Watch that following her arrest in December 2011 in Tashkent, Rahimjonova was forced to give a TV interview in which she accused him and her father of being connected to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an organization designated as a terrorist organization by various states, including the United States, and other extremist groups. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a flawed trial, allegations of ill-treatment, and lack of access to counsel.

Istaravshani told Human Rights Watch that his wife did not suffer chronic illnesses or complain about her health. A close relative in Tashkent had visited her just two months before she died, and said there were no indications she was in poor health. Officials have not given the family a cause of death although, approximately one month after the death, Uzbek authorities handed a lawyer hired by the family a death certificate that stated Rahimjonova had hung herself.

Uzbek authorities delivered Rahimjonova’s body to her brother’s home in Tashkent. Istaravshani said her brother was ordered to “bury the body now,” leaving no opportunity to conduct a post-mortem examination.

When people are deprived of their liberty, responsibility for their fate rests with the detaining authorities, who must guarantee the life and physical integrity of each detainee. International human rights law requires governments to ensure effective investigations into deaths in custody – regardless of the presumed cause. Such investigations are essential for ascertaining the cause of death, identifying anyone responsible for the death, and holding them to account. These investigations also deter similar incidents in the future, ensure the security of other prisoners, and provide confidence in the authorities’ commitment to fulfilling their national and international obligations.

The next of kin also have a right to be informed of all the circumstances of the death, and to have access to an effective remedy if the death is the result of state culpability.

“My wife was in good health before she died and had four children to live for,” Istaravshani told Human Rights Watch. “What now can I do for my wife? All I can do now is to ensure that no other wives like her will have to die in prison and see to it that no one is locked up in Uzbekistan’s prisons without proof of actual wrongdoing.”

“Deaths under circumstances such as Rahimjonova’s are highly suspicious and need to be thoroughly and independently investigated,” Swerdlow said. “The Uzbek government should ensure that full and open investigations are conducted into all prison deaths and allow for regular, unfettered, independent, expert monitoring of prison conditions to help prevent such deaths in the future.”

To read Human Rights Watch’s recent report “Until the Very End‘’: Politically-Motivated Imprisonment in Uzbekistan.”


16.12.14

Uzbekistan: «traitors to the Motherland» are named

On 11 December 2014 in "Uzbekistan" TV channel a propaganda film titled  «Xiyonat», or "Betrayal" in translation from Uzbek, was broadcast. It featured individuals who applied for asylum in Norway asking for a refugee status. 

Norway most often deports citizens of Uzbekistan. It is a known fact that on their return to their country of origin, they are tortured and accused of perjury against Uzbekistan, forced to testify publicly against themselves, announced to be members of "extremist groups" and openly referred to as "traitors to the Motherland."

Below are the details of the deported citizens of Uzbekistan by Norway and a brief summary of the propaganda film. 
1. Asadulla Xayrullayevich RIXSIYEV, born in 1986, originally from Tashkent. He graduated from the Information Technology University in 2007. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he was sentenced to. According to the authors of the film, while in Norway, he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group”. In front of the camera, Rixsiyev stated that he met an Iranian man called Nadim who campaigned to support Muslims fighting the “infidels”. 

According to Rixsiyev, he came to Norway only to work and help his family financially. He said that he was met by unknown people and on their advice, he claimed asylum. He deceived the Norwegian immigration service. To obtain refugee status, Rixsiyev claimed that he was gay. The Criminal Code of Uzbekistan contains Article 120 which provides for punishment of up to three years of imprisonment for "Sodomy".
2. Zafar Salim ogli KARIMOV, born in 1985, originally from Tashkent. He has a diploma of higher education. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway. 

Karimov said he came to Norway to work. He was met by unknown people and was told to contact the immigration service and claim asylum in order to obtain a work permit. And they recommended to him to change his name.
3. Davron Axrolovich RAHMONOV, born in 1984 originally from Tashkent.  It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.

He came to Norway to work. He was met by unknown people and was advised to contact the immigration service claiming that in Uzbekistan, he was a gambler, lost a large sum of money, and if he retuned back, he "will be put on the blades." He had a fake passport in the name of another person, and used it to send home the money he earned.
4. Ahmadjon Muhammadjonovich XOLIQOV, born in 1980, originally from Tashkent. He is educated to a secondary level. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.

He came to Norway to work. On the advice of the organisers of his visit, he told the immigration service that in Uzbekistan the authorities found 1.2 kilograms of drugs on him and he was threatened with arrest. According Xholiqov, he deceived the Norwegian authorities to obtain free housing and the right to work. When the Norwegian authorities found out that he had a false Romanian passport, he was arrested and deported 100 days later.
5. Shuhrat Qodirovich ILHOMOV, born in 1977, originally from Tashkent. He is married and has two children. Educated to secondary level. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.

Ilhomov said that he travelled to Norway in order to earn money. On the advice of the people who helped him to travel to Norway, he deceived the immigration service. Ilhom claimed to be gay in order to be allowed to stay in Norway to work legally. 
6. Jahongir Qochqorovich TOJIYEV, born in 1984, originally from Tashkent. He is married and has two children. The authors of the film alleged that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.

Like the other characters in the film, Tojiev came to Norway to work. He claimed asylum to be eligible to live and work legally in Norway. And he was sure that no one will know about it in Uzbekistan.

          • Summary of the content of the film

For 35 minutes, the filmmakers present their version of the story of 8 men who lived in Norway for a while. The characters in the film come to Norway to work, using the procedure provided by the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951. Six of them were convicted; their term of sentences was never specified. Two others say that they reported to the Uzbek law enforcement agencies about their arrival from Norway, the reasons for approaching the immigration service and what they were doing there. (All of them are ordinary citizens and do not have high-ranking patrons in a corrupt country).

The characters of the film claim that, only after returning home, they realized that they betrayed their homeland. In Norway, they did not work on Fridays and attended the mosque. From time to time, they gathered and watched movies found on the Internet about the suffering of Muslims in countries where there is war. That is why they transferred part of their earned money to support those Muslims.

All of them, in tears, repented and asked for forgiveness of the Uzbek people for the fact that they gave "false statements against Uzbekistan" in Norway, where they violated the Uzbek and Norwegian laws. And they "regret that mistakenly joined extremist organisations (none of the convicted specified which extremist organisation), and betrayed their homeland."

Ilhom Azamov and Temur Zoitov, characters of the film, claim that they learned about the above mentioned 6 men «took a wrong turn, and betrayed their country». Azamov and Zoitov lived in Norway too. They were in contact with the “traitors”. But, they returned to Uzbekistan on time. They turned themselves in, confessed their mistakes and reported the “traitors”. According to them, Uzbekistan is a “humane state and forgives repenting citizens”. They were forgiven and now they enjoy their freedom.

Authors of the film and the "experts" pathetically ask: why does Norway take in the "criminals", including the "extremists"? They do not understand why Norway has become a country which creates conditions nurturing religious extremist organisations. They are convinced that real criminals are going to Norway to obtain papers and then travel to Muslim countries. They even come back to Uzbekistan disguised as deportees in order to carry out “extremist activities” in their home turf. But, unlike Norwegian counterparts, “Uzbek authorities are able to prevent such crimes”. 

          • Results of our monitoring

According to our organisation, more than 18 deportees from Norway in 2014 are in custody and under investigation in Uzbekistan. It is very difficult to establish their real names, as almost all of them have distorted their names, date and place of birth. Often, applicants from Uzbekistan seek asylum on the second passport, which is produced in Uzbekistan at the request of the loss of the first one. In the second passport they indicate another transcription of their name or last name and thus obtain the documents of a foreign country under a different name. Often, using such a passport, Uzbek citizens obtain Russian citizenship. On the details of the Russian passport they obtain a visa to a European country. Then using Uzbek passport, they apply claim asylum. This practice is known to the immigration services of Western countries. Statistics show a large number of persons providing false information, a basis on which their application is rejected. Deportation cases occur more often.

Norway establishes the nationality of the applicant whose application for asylum was rejected by its Embassy in that country. In cases of citizens of Uzbekistan, it relies on the Embassy in Riga. Norwegian request for information is receved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Security Services. And as a citizen arrives from Norway, he is certainly detained at the airport by the Department of Transport of the Prosecutor's Office. Then he is questioned by counterintelligence officers of the National Security Services. During the interrogation, he is shown pictures of citizens living abroad for a long time, mostly religious or civil society activists. He may be also shown photos of protesters or political refugees.

Uzbek citizens seeking a job in Norway regularly enter the country with passports containing distorted names (as mentioned above). In Uzbekistan there is a group of swindlers who promise employment abroad. This business is working. Criminal chain is as follows: in Tashkent there is hub for client wishing to work in Norway. The customers are met by other crooks on arrival in the country of destination. They lead them to a refugee camp, after telling them how to deceive the immigration officers. In Norway, the business involves even the translators of the Immigration Service. The most of affected by this scam named someone called Nargiza (we could not establish her full name). Uzbek refugees tried several times to expose scams and Uzbek provocateurs in Norway. But the criminals learned about their intentions and threatened to inform the National Security Services of Uzbekistan about their exact location in Norway and the reasons for leaving the country. Given that the refugees have family member living in Uzbekistan including elderly parents, the investigation stopped.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA urges Norway to abide by the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and change the practice of working with refugees, namely:
               - Stop the forcible return of Uzbek nationals to their country of origin, where torture is systematically used and there is no independent judiciary;

               - Do not stamp with the Uzbek passport with a mark containing words “deportation”. Members of the Uzbek government bodies use this mark as an excuse to extort bribes from citizens of Uzbekistan, bringing charges of perjury against the state and "betrayal of the homeland";

               - Do not inform the Embassy of Uzbekistan about citizens who claimed asylum, even if their application is rejected, or it is proven that they violated the administrative order.

We urge to review all cases of applicants from Uzbekistan, in respect of whom the decision has been taken to deport them, especially if their details are already known to the Embassy of Uzbekistan. They are under a risk of torture.


The film "Betrayal" is accessible via the following link: 






2.12.14

Kyrgyzstan: attacks on ethnic Uzbeks are getting more frequent in Cheryomushki neighbourhood of the Osh city


After the publication on the situation of ethnic Uzbeks in the Southern Kyrgyzstan, local police stopped accepting complaints regarding aggressive incidents motivated by nationalism.

Further provocative attacks took place on 24-26 November 2014 in Cheryomushki neighbourhood of the city of Osh which is densely populated by ethnic Uzbeks. A group of 10-15 young people of the Kyrgyz appearance attacks the local population. The attackers disguise their names. The law enforcement officials see signs of beating, but refuse to consider complaints about manifestations of ethnic hatred and do not seek to identify aggressive nationalists.

The following situation is becoming a norm in the Cheryomushki neighbourhood:
     - There are taxi ramps near the “Kyrgyzia” cinema-house, where the drivers gather. There are some ethnic Uzbeks among the drivers, whose car windows often get smashed. The Uzbek drivers are often forced to provide a free lift or give away their vodka;
      - Pedestrians – ethnic Uzbeks – are often mugged. For example, a passer-by was deprived of his mink hat, with shouting: "Death to Sarts!”

The local inspector of the Ak-Burinskiy district received the victims in the bases 42 and 43. Instead of making a complaint, they were asked to provide an explanatory letter in the Kyrgyz language. Then they were asked to provide money to buy petrol for the police to get to the location of the incident to investigate.

Of those convicted for events of June 2010, 530 people were sentenced under Article 299 of the Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan (Inciting national, racial, religious or interregional hatred). All of them are ethnic Uzbeks. Last sentence was handed down on 23 October 2014 against Karamat Abdullaeva, the executive secretary of the Republican Uzbek National Centre. She was tried in absentia and sentenced to imprisonment for 16 years and confiscation of all her property.

In cases where the victim of nationalism gave up all his property as a bribe, a criminal case against him was dropped and replaced by an administrative offense - disorderly conduct.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia is concerned that ethnic Uzbeks in Southern Kyrgyzstan are not protected from criminal attacks at all. And that is why now they ask not to be identified by their names in our reports. Lack of trust in justice and the arbitrary context put them on the brink of survival.



1.12.14

Russia: an attempt on the life of a member of the Tajik opposition Maksud Ibragimov

On 26 November 2014, in Moscow, around 22:50, a member of the Tajik opposition Maksud Ibragimov received six stab wounds. The attack took place in the Tsaritsyno Southern administrative district of the capital, on Sevan Street. There were two assailants, they disappeared.

Maksud Ibragimov is at the Institute of Emergency Medicine named after Sklifosovsky. The first five days, doctors assessed his health, as serious. Now he is able to moves independently. The Moscow police guard his ward, even his relatives are not allowed to see him.

Maksud Ibragimov
Maksud Ibragimov was born on 3 November 1977 in Dushanbe; he has a dual citizenship of Tajikistan and the Russian Federation.

He is married and has three children. He has been living in Russia for over 15 years.

He is a founder and the Chairman of the Russian Youth Public Organisation titled “Youth of Tajikistan for the Revival of Tajikistan”. He is a member of the Supervisory Council of “New Tajikistan” the Opposition Coalition. A year ago, he started his active political public role. He gave many interviews in the media criticising the government of Tajikistan.

The attempt occurred near the place of Maksud Ibragimov’s residence. A Makarov pistol with a silencer was found at the crime scene. The assassins could not shoot because the fuse jammed. Ibragimov received six stab wounds, including three in his arm. Eyewitnesses claim that the assailants disappeared behind a house located on Sevan Street, and escaped in a foreign vehicle. None of the personal belongings of the victim was missing. Most likely, the crime was not committed with intent to rob.

A day before the assassination, at the Tsaritsyno District Department of the Ministry of Interior, Maksud Ibrahimov submitted a complaint about the threats against him by members of the Tajik law enforcement agencies. Ibragimov’s report was ignored even after Russia received a request for his extradition from the General Prosecutor of Tajikistan.
On 9 October 2014 Maksud Ibragimov was arrested in Moscow on the basis of an extradition request of Tajikistan which placed him in the international wanted list. Russia rejected this request, and on 11 October Ibragimov was released from custody.

Once M. Ibragimov announced that he has become a leader of an opposition organisation, the authorities began to exert pressure through his relatives living in Tajikistan. In addition, he received calls with threats of arrest, demanding to end his political activity. Ibragimov was also offered to return to Tajikistan and promised his safety. Over the last six months, such calls were particularly frequent.

The assassination attempt on Maksud Ibragimov caused panic among the citizens of Tajikistan living in Russia. Tajik migrants have become more serious about telephone threats.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia expresses concern about the attempt on Maksud Ibragimov. We call on Russia to provide legal protection to citizens of Tajikistan residing in its territory, who are threatened by Tajik law enforcement agencies.

24.11.14

«Corruption and Human Rights»

This is the title of the conference to be held in Geneva on 26-27 November. An organiser of the conference is the Centre for Civil and Political Rights based in Geneva. It will bring together civil society activists from different countries. On behalf of the Uzbek community Nadejda Atayeva, President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia will make a speech. The delegation is also represented by Farhodhon Mukhtarov, a representative of the "Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan", and Umida Niyazova, the head of "Uzbek-German Forum".

On the eve of the conference, I would like to share my observations about who in Uzbekistan has become a source of corruption and the place the civil society should take in this process.

* * *

A citizen of Uzbekistan is in the custody of a prison in Dubai. In the Uzbek business elite circles, until recently, his name, Aleksey Yaitsky, was whispered enthusiastically. This is a major businessman, close to the powerful Tatyana Karimova, the wife of the Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov. He was paid this high respect for the fact that he was able to win her confidence. According to some reports, he was able to become a leading figure in a successful company "Abusahiy." This is a private enterprise, a monopoly in the field of freight transport with a profit of up to 20 million USD per month. Abusahiy’s cash flow is under a full control of Kamal Tillaev, a brother of Timur Tillaev who is the husband of Lola Karimova, the youngest daughter of Islam Karimov.

Yaitsky is accused of an attempt to bribe an official. According to information from his inner circle, his bank account in the UAE revealed 10 million USD. The origin of this amount will have to be explained. Typically, these offenders serve their sentences in the UAE; they are not handed over to the authorities of the country of origin. Uzbekistan did not request him. But the Attorney General's Office of Uzbekistan has to ask how such amount of funds was formed abroad in the account of an Uzbek citizen.

Yaitsky’s magical opportunities ended unexpectedly for himself and his inner circle, not in London, where his family had settled in the neighbourhood with Lola Karimova, but in Dubai, where there is a representative office of Abusahy is located and where he has extensive links and long-time business experience.

It is proving not possible to bail Aleksey Yaitsky out of the Dubai jail even with surety. It turned out, Tatyana Karimova, Lola Karimova and a criminal authority, Yaitsky’s tennis partner Salimbay Abduvaliev can not influence the Prosecutor of UAE.

They only managed to hide the fact of Yaitsky’s arrest for a little longer than a month. The silence was broken by the Radio "Ozodlik" [Freedom]. Now in Uzbekistan the questions being discussed are: how will this affect the activity of Abusahy and what will become of Yaitsky after he returns to Uzbekistan. First, his case was discussed only "in the kitchens" and in social networks, but it has already received the media’s attention. Discussions of this type of cases are signals of civil society that Islam Karimov and his entourage will have to answer for the widespread abuse of power that gives rise to a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Exceptional opportunities enjoyed by the Karimov family, including their close relatives and inner circle is a very hot topic. For example, the arrest of Yaitsky concerns all who need transportation services, and this is a huge army of entrepreneurs specialising in the retail trade, export and import.

A significant part of the business in Uzbekistan depended on Gulnara Karimova, on cooperation with her and companies directly or indirectly controlled by her. Therefore, the scandal surrounding her operations turned out so loud. Thousands of people were out of work. Layoffs in the Swedish company TeliaSonera still continue. Some aides of Gulnara Karimova are in jail in Uzbekistan and others in exile and are trying to present themselves as dissidents.

In Uzbekistan, a group of very powerful oligarchs, nurtured by family members of Islam Karimov came to existence. At this stage of the Karimov regime it is clearly visible as they compete with each other, interacting with the National Security Service and senior officials. They are allowed to patronise other entrepreneurs and investors, to be mediators between Tatyana Karimova and her youngest daughter Lola Karimova. These two ladies are quite influential. These days one can survive in the Uzbek market only on their terms. These conditions are detrimental to private entrepreneurs who settled in Uzbekistan and abroad. In its activities, the Karimov family uses the weaknesses of the tax and customs legislation and it is dependent on the executive judicial system. Anyone can be robbed by the ruling clan. Defending their personal interests, the oligarchs close to the family of Islam Karimov violate human rights. By the will of the Karimov family members people are kidnapped, entrepreneurs are ruined, they are charged on fabricate cases and on behalf of public authorities sent to jail.

In the entre history, Uzbek officials were never as rich as they are now. No one asks about the origin of the funds they spend on construction and purchase of expensive real estate in Uzbekistan and abroad. They control the supply of goods and services to the domestic market in exchange for a considerable percentage of income in the form of bribes and money sent offshore.

The country where the authorities keep prices for basic foods fixed and hinder the competition, there will always be corruption.

Uzbek citizens have the right to know all the details of activity of the "Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan" foundation, which has been under the patronage of Gulnara Karimova for over 10 years. And every citizen has the right to know what taxes Abusahy pays, because many companies were affected by the systematic abuse of power by the brothers Sharifhodzhaevs, the National Security Service of Uzbekistan. Why Khayot Sharifhodzhaev still holds the post of first deputy chairman of the National Security Service of Uzbekistan? Did they not find evidence of his crimes? Or is it the case that the corrupt elite do not touch Sharifhodzhaev fearing revelations on his part?

If the government is not accountable to the public and the decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers contain secret items on benefits for businesses which serve as trough for senior officials, corruption will not disappear.

The scandal surrounding the illegal proceeds of Gulnara Karimova is remarkable. On the one hand, it revealed the collusion of senior officials and the first family of the country. And on the other hand, it gives the Uzbek civil society the chance to direct the funds Gulnara concentrated abroad to pay for compensation for victims of human rights violations. And this process depends largely on the position of civil society in Uzbekistan.


Nadejda Atayeva