Uzbekistan: prisoner Asrorjon Isajonov on the verge of deat

A typical story of a political prisoner in Uzbekistan

Prisoner Asrorjon Isajonov is on the verge of death in a high security prison colony UA 64/51 (the city of Kasan of the Kashkadarya Region). He was subjected to tortured over a long period of time (for example, he was repeatedly beaten on the soles of his feet), abused and intimidated by Bahodir Hujanazarov, an officer of the colony. 

 Asrorjon Isajonov, was born in 1981 in Tashkent. He was sentenced in 2000 to 13 years under the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan: Articles 159 (Encroachment on the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Uzbekistan) and 244-1 (Manufacture or Distribution of Materials Containing a Threat to Public Security and Public Order). In 2009, 4 years were added to his term, on the basis of Article 221 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Disobeying the lawful requests of the administration of penal institutions); in 2011, further 3.5 years were added under the Article 221 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

While in prison, he works at a brick production plant for 10 hours a day, where his main task is to carry bricks. He earns 10,000 soums (3.5 U.S. dollars) a month. His right to family visits is often infringed. For example, on 16 February 2014, instead of a two-day visit, Isajonov was only given one day. During this meeting, he was depressed more then ever. When saying goodbye to his mother he said that he can no longer tolerate bullying by Bahodir Hujanazarov.

In November 2002, Asrorjon Isajonov’s  elder brother Abbosjon Isajonov, born in 1979, died of tuberculosis. His death occurred 22 days after his release from prison. He was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison under the same Articles (159 and 244-1) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Asrorjon Isajonov’s mother is appealing to various law enforcement agencies and public organisations. She cries and pleads to help her save her son, while he is still alive. She had three children, one son died, the second is on the verge of death, she also has a daughter. Not long after Asrorjon was deprived of his liberty, his father died.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia makes an appeal to:
            - UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,
            - EU Special Rapporteur for Central Asia
            - The Special Rapporteur of the EU on Human Rights
            - Governments of democratic countries.

We call you on to urge the government of Uzbekistan to fulfill its obligations under international agreements on human rights it ratified, including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Uzbek authorities are also obliged to prosecute the officer of the colony UA 64/51 Bahodir Hujanazarov and other individuals involved in the practice of torture.


Uzbekistan: Fakhriddin Tillaev, a human rights activist is under threat of long term imprisonment

Investigation on a criminal case  №22/13-474 was concluded on 14 February 2014. A human rights activist Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov activist of Tashkent Independent Trade Unions are charged with human trafficking, they are facing 8 to 12 years of imprisonment.

Fakhriddin Khabibulloevich Tillaev born on 15 August 1971 in the Baysun District of Surkhandarya Region of Uzbekistan. He is an Uzbek citizen, married and has two children.
    -  Between 1989-1991 he studied at the Tashkent Cooperative College and graduated specialising as an "accountant and economist".
   -  Between 1992-1997 he studied at the Tashkent State University named after Al-Beruni.
   -  In 1994-1997 worked at the Baysun District Department of Natural Gas Supply.
   - Between 1997-2000 he headed the Baysun District Trade Union of Small and Medium Size Businesses.
   - In 2000-2001 he was a head of the Sukhandarya Region Chamber of Entrepreneurs.
   -  In 2002-2003 he was head of the Surkhandarya Region Department of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan.
   -   Since 2003 he is a member of the “Mazlum” Human Rights Centre.
   - In 2004-2005 he was a Chairman of the Surkhandarya Region Department  of Independent Human Rights Organisations of Uzbekistan (IHROU).
   -  In 2005 he founded Union of Independent Trade Unions in Surkhandarya Region, in support of labour migrants.

We are also trying to find detailed information about Nuraddin Djumaniyazov.

  • Le cas criminel
On 28 December 2013 in the Headquarters of the Tashkent City Department of Internal Affairs the first questioning of two Uzbek citizens: Farkhad Pardayev (born 27.02.1969) and Erkin Erdanov (born 07.05.1959) took place. They accused Nuraddin Reimbergenovich Djumaniyazov (born 10.18.1948) of arranging for them to work in Kazakhstan, and their labour rights were violated once in Kazakhstan. According to investigators, they approached law enforcement agencies at the insistence of Abdullah Tojiboy-ogli, an activist of the "Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan".

On 2 January 2014 Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov were arrested. They are held in prison No. UA 64-IZ-1, in Tashkent. They are accused of "organised human trafficking" (Article 135, Section 3, subsection "d" of the Criminal Code of Republic of Uzbekistan).

According to the investigators, Nuraddin Djumaniyazov, at the request of Abdullo Tojiboy-ogli, gave Farkhad Pardayev and Erkin Erdanov contact information of a recruiter for  construction workers - Zhanar Demeuova, in Shymkent (South Kazakhstan).

Farhad Pardaev and Erkin Erdanov arrived in Shymkent on 5 September 2013, where they found Zhanar Demeuova. They explained to her their difficult economic situation. When she realised that they had no experience in this field, she refused to offer them any employment, but after much persuasion, she finally agreed to help. She paid for their room and board for initial period. She registered them in Kazakhstan, so that they were in the country legally. Their passports have corresponding stamps, the passports were immediately returned to them.

Demeuova soon found work with a foreman for them, so that they quickly learned the construction trade. Farhad Pardaev Erkin Erdanov took 15 days to do the work that a specialist usually performs in 5-6 days. Their wages were paid as agreed and on time.

A statement of Zhanar Demeuova, citizen of Kazakhstan, is attached to the materials of the criminal case. According to her testimony, Tillaev had nothing to do with the employment of these two people. The claim by Pardayev and Erdanov does not say anything about Tillaev. But he drew the attention of investigators because he visited Zhanar Demeuova accompanied by Nuraddin Djumaniyazov. Abdullo Tojiboy-ogli is called as a witness for the prosecution.

The hearing of the criminal case is scheduled for the end of February. The State provided Nuraddin Djumaniyazov with a lawyer, Sh. Shakasimov. Fakhriddin Tillaev is represented by P. Braunerg, a lawyer.

Tillaev’s lawyer believes that the Court will support the prosecution, despite signs of fabrication of charges by the investigation, although there is no evidence of "complicity" of Tillaev in human trafficking. The prosecutors for Tillaev combined the punishment which stems from previously filed administrative matter to the materials of case against him.

  • The Administrative Case
On 23 August 2013, at 21:00 hours, an intoxicated naked woman came to Fakhriddin Tillaev’s home in Tashkent. The woman in question lives in the house next door, but the Tillaevs do not maintain contact with her. At that moment Tillaev’s wife and two children were in the house. Soon after, 8 unidentified men knocked on the door, a man who introduced himself to be the naked guest’s husband, led her out of Tillaev’s house against her will. All intruders left. And then a local policeman appeared to have the statement of the woman, in which she falsely accused Tillaev of sexual harassment. The policeman passed the statement to the Chilanzar District Court of Tashkent.

On 20 September 2013 by Decision of the Chilonzar District Criminal Court, Tillaev was sentenced to administrative punishment under Article 40, part 2 (Libel) - a fine of 10 minimum wages, i.e. 1 million 372 950 soums (local currency); Article 52, part 2 (Bodily Harm) - 2 times the minimum wage, i.e. 183 thousand 060 soums; Article 183 (Disorderly Conduct) - administrative detention for 15 days.

In his Appeal, Tillaev wrote that the administrative case materials were collected with a flagrant violation of the law, and the hearing was held in an accusatory manner. He was deliberately deprived of the right to defend his interests, to give explanations, to present evidence, to submit petitions, access to a lawyer. He repeatedly asked the Judge to allow a lawyer to be present during the investigation of the administrative case and proceedings and demanded the Prosecutor's participation. The Court rejected his application ignoring the Article 294 of the Administrative Code (Rights and duties of the person brought to administrative responsibility). Tillaev asked the Judge to give him the opportunity to familiarise himself with the materials of the case, but he was denied even this right, contrary to Article 30 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan, which states that all state bodies, public organisations and officials of Uzbekistan shall allow any citizen access to documents, decisions and other materials relating to their rights and interests.

On 7 September 2013 Major I.Ostanakulov, Senior Prevention Inspector made a report. On 8 September, it was approved by Chief of the Chilanzar District Department of Internal Affairs, Colonel A. Yuldashev. But the Court received it only after 5 days, i.e. on 13 of September, in violation of the Article 282 of the Administrative Code (Direction protocol on Administrative Offense), which indicates that the materials should be sent within one day to the body authorised to hear the case. The Chilonzar Court Judge did not pay any attention to this. Forensic examination of Yu.Lykova was conducted on 3 September 2013. According to experts, on 23 August 2013 she allegedly received minor injuries. The examination was carried out only 10 days later. During this time, all minor injuries could have disappeared while, where the new ones came from is unknown. Moreover, the District Court and local police disregarded evidence given by Tillaev that Yu. Lykova was drunk, completely naked, broke into Tillaev’s apartment and in the presence of his wife and children smashed a computer and a mobile phone.

The Court on Administrative Matters did not take into account other violations:
            Yu. Lykova’s statement is not dated and lacks registration date (л.д. 8-9);
Statement of Ortsuev, a witness of the prosecution is not signed and lacks the warning on the criminal liability for perjury;
Tillaev’s submissions to call his wife and other eyewitnesses who could rebut Lygova’s evidence, were ignored by the Court;
the case contains evidence given by a representative of local Mahalla (community) Sevar Mavlonov, where he said that Yu. Lykova lived there for 10 years and Tillaev - 3 years; Tillaev actually lives there for 10 years, and Lykova - 3 years, with no local police registration. Tillaev tried to prove it in the Court, but he was not even given the word.

In his Appeal Statement, Tillaev writes that Lykova was not held responsible for her acts of hooliganism. He appealed to the local police inspector Major I. Ostanakulov and an official of the Mahalla, but the officials were not available in their workplace.

  • Torture and ill-treatment 
During the administrative arrest, Tillaev was tortured and threatened. He was forced to "confess" that he was a terrorist. The conditions of his detention were torturous in themselves. He was given a loaf of bread for a day, dinner consisted of almost inedible soup. He was only allowed to use toilet in the mornings and evenings. The prison cell contained 25 people, it was dirty and stuffy. Relatives were not allowed to see him, the authorities did not accept anything to be passed on to him.

At present, Fakhriddin Tillaev does not want to talk about his treatment. He fears that his situation could worsen. Tillaev looks exhausted.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, on the basis of the case materials, concluded: charges of "Human Trafficking" against human rights activist Fakhriddin Tillaev are fabricated and the administrative case was used as a way to prevent his departure from Uzbekistan to facilitate the fabrication of the criminal charges. This type of practice against civil society activists in Uzbekistan is particularly prevalent in the last eight months.


Islam Karimov's visit to the Czech Republic is postponed

The planned visit by Islam Karimov, long term President of Uzbekistan to Prague, scheduled for 20 - 22 of February has been postponed. This was confirmed on 13th of February by the press services of the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Accordingly, protest rallies by Uzbek citizens in Prague, planned for 21 February, in Hradcanske namesti  (Castle Square) and other events expressing protests by human rights and Uzbek civil society activists have been cancelled.

Islam Karimov could naturally expect that human rights activists would object to his visit to the Czech Republic, but he did not anticipate such reaction by the President of the Republic.

Open discussions by human rights activists with the President of the Czech Republic and with Czech diplomats led to the cancellation of Zeman’s meeting with Karimov.

Most importantly, it was made very clear to Mr Karimov that even 9 years after the Andijan tragedy in 2005 he is not welcome in a democratic country - he can feel comfortable only in Uzbekistan and in the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.


Reply to Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman on the upcoming visit of Uzbek President Islam Karimov

Dear President Zeman,

Thank you for your quick response to our letter voicing our deep concern over your invitation of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov for an official visit this month.

You make three points, which we address here:

First, Václav Klaus visited Tashkent in 2004, thus before the Andijan Massacre of May 2005, after which the international community’s relationship – and in particular, the European Union’s relationship – with the Uzbek government regime changed dramatically. As you know, the Czech Republic, along with the other member states of the EU, placed sanctions on the Uzbek government for its persistent refusal to allow an international independent investigation into the killings of hundreds of mainly peaceful protesters in Andijan as well as for the ensuing crackdown in which authorities imprisoned numerous human rights defenders and journalists for attempting to document and raise questions about the massacre. Moreover, as we state in our initial letter, while diplomatic courtesy is important, we believe the proper course of action would be to postpone the invitation until there is measurable evidence that President Karimov has made concrete improvements on the EU’s core human rights criteria, which are outlined in numerous official statements.

Second, when President Karimov visited Brussels in January 2011, the invitation was made by NATO, not the EU. In addition, most top officials – including European CouncilPresident Herman Van Rompuy and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, as well as the Belgian king and foreign minister – refrained from meeting with him.European Commission President José Manuel Barroso did meet him, but the protest was loud and strong from most of the organizations that have signed today’s letter. Significantly, in a public statement issued following the meeting, Mr. Barroso made clear that “a strengthening of relations with Uzbekistan, for which the European Union was ready in principle, is strictly dependent on Uzbek reforms and progress, notably regarding human rights, democratization and the rule of law.”

See, for example, this public letter at the time:

Or RSF’s protest here:

Or CPJ’s protest here:


Or HRW’s protest:

and here:

There are many more. In addition, many Uzbeks, including human rights activists who earlier were imprisoned and subjected to torture in Uzbekistan, came to Brussels to protest in person at the Commission. Some photos of that protest are here: http://www.fidh.org/en/eastern-europe-central-asia/uzbekistan/Flash-protest-around-the-official,8967

Third, while United States officials have recognized the role Uzbekistan has played in the war in Afghanistan, the US government has also long criticized Tashkent over its abysmal record on fundamental labor rights and freedom of religion, which includes Tashkent’s more than decade-long campaign to arbitrarily detain and imprison thousands of peaceful religious believers who practice their religion outside strict state controls under the banner of fighting “terrorism.” (See:“USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report on the State of International Religious Freedom Identifies World’s Worst Violators,” April 30, 2013, http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/3986.html). Nonetheless, many of the organizations that signed the letter to you have been critical of Washington’s stance on Uzbekistan. Many have repeatedly called on the US government to adopt a more robust human rights policy, including by making regular public statements on continuing rights abuses and attaching meaningful policy consequences for Tashkent’s failure to make improvements.

For example, just a few weeks ago, Human Rights Watch said,“The US government continued to avoid attaching any serious policy consequences for Uzbekistan’s failure to improve its rights record.”

See: http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/country-chapters/uzbekistan?page=3

Or this article by Human Rights Watch in Foreign Policy from 2011:

Or, to give an example of something older, 2003:

Or this from Freedom House in 2011, saying, “the US stoops too low” with Uzbekistan:
http://www.freedomhouse.org/blog/courting-uzbekistan-united-states-stoops-too-low-0#.Uvj3B_ldVg0 http://www.freedomhouse.org/blog/courting-uzbekistan-united-states-stoops-too-low-0%23.Uvj3B_ldVg0

Or this from CPJ:

Or these numerous points from the Cotton Campaign on the need to condition economic trade on fulfilling human rights commitments:And also from the Cotton Campaign on the need for the US and the EU to prioritize human rights in their diplomacy:

Or this from FIDH: http://www.fidh.org/en/americas/usa/As-Hunger-Strike-Enters-Third-Month-25-Prominent-Human-Rights-13142

We would welcome the opportunity to elaborate further on these three points and on our work on Uzbekistan should you wish to be informed by our many years of collective research and analysis of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan.

Signed (alphabetically),

Actionby Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT)

Anti-Slavery International (ASI)

Association of Human Rights in Central Asia, www.nadejda-atayeva-en.blogspot.com

Association International Human Rights “Fiery Hears Club,” 

The Australian Council of Trade Unions

Calvert Investments

The Child Labor Coalition

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

The Cotton Campaign

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

Expert Working Group

Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)

Open letter to Czech President Miloš Zeman on the upcoming visit of Uzbek President Islam Karimov

Dear President Zeman,

We are writing to express our surprise and deep concern that you have invited Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, on an official visit to Prague on 20-22 February.

As the leader of one of the most repressive governments in the world, President Karimov is not someone we would expect to be invited for such meetings. In fact, he is rightly shunned by most western leaders, particularly after the Andijan massacre of 2005, in which his security forces shot into crowds of mostly peaceful protestors in that city, killing hundreds. Between 2005 and 2009, the Czech Republic, along with the other members of the European Union (EU), put targeted sanctions on the Uzbek government in connection with President Karimov’s persistent refusal to allow an independent international investigation into the killings in Andijan.

For nearly 25 years, Karimov has ruled over a country in which torture is systematic in police custody and in prisons, where dozens of human rights defenders, journalists and other peaceful activists are held on politically-motivated charges and thousands of people are locked up simply for practicing their religion - Christians as well as Muslims. The government tolerates no freedom of speech or assembly.

Every year, the government closes hundreds of schools and other public services to force over a million children and adults to pick cotton for little or no pay.

For more than 11 years now, Tashkent has denied access to all UN special monitors who have requested invitations – currently numbering 11 – and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has had to stop visiting prisoners there because the government refuses to cooperate with standard ICRC procedures.

In short, this is the leader of a state that oppresses its people in the extreme and stands out for its failure to cooperate meaningfully with international human rights and humanitarian monitoring mechanisms. It is therefore hard to reconcile that the Czech Republic, as an international actor with a significant history in contesting and overcoming oppression, would reward such a person with the prestige and recognition associated with an official state visit.

We would strongly urge you to reconsider this invitation. However, should you nonetheless decide to go ahead with this meeting, , we would urge that you raise with President Karimov the critical human rights abuses we have mentioned above, in addition to other human rights concerns outlined by the EU Foreign Affairs Council in its October 2010 Conclusions on Uzbekistan, and call on President Karimov to address them. We would also urge you to hold a press conference with President Karimov following your talks with a view to ensuring that there will be a public record of this meeting and the issues discussed. This would demonstrate to President Karimov and more importantly millions of Uzbekistan’s citizens the difference between closed and authoritarian leadership, and open and democratic societies.

We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


Signed (alphabetical):

Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), www.acatfrance.fr, www.acatfrance.fr

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, www.aflcio.org

Anti-Slavery International (ASI), www.antislavery.org

Association of Human Rights in Central Asia, www.nadejda-atayeva-en.blogspot.com

Association International Human Rights - "Fiery Hears Club", www.jarayon.com

Australian Council of Trade Unions, www.actu.org.au

Calvert Investments, www.calvert.com

Child Labor Coalition, www.stopchildlabor.org

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), www.cpj.org

The Cotton Campaign, www.cottoncampaign.org

DEMAS – Asociace pro podporu demokracie a lidských práv, www.demas.cz

The Eurasian Transition Group, e.V., www.eurasiantransition.org

Expert Working Group

Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme, www.fidh.org

Freedom House, www.freedomhouse.org

Freedom Now, www.freedom-now.org

Human Rights Watch (HRW), www.hrw.org

INKOTA-netzwerk, www.inkota.de/baumwolle

International Labor Rights Forum, www.laborrights.org

International Partnership for Human Rights, www.IPHRonline.org

Liga lidských práv, www.llp.cz

NaZemi, www.nazemi.cz

Norwegian Helsinki Committee, www. nhc.no

People in Need, www.clovekvtisni.cz

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), www.rsf.org

Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, www.scnj.org

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, www.osfphila.org

Sunshine Coalition, @sunshineuz

Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia, www.tcfua.org.au

Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), www.uzbekgermanforum.org

Media contacts:

In Bishkek, Steve Swerdlow, HRW (English, Russian): +996-773-242-620 (mobile), swerdls@hrw.org, @steveswerdlow

In Brussels, Brigitte Dufour, IPHR (English, French): +32 473 36 38 91 (mobile), brigitte.dufour@iphronline.org

In Brussels, Andrew Stroehlein, HRW (English, Czech), +32 485 555 946 (mobile), astro@hrw.org, @astroehlein

In Berlin, Umida Niyazova, UGF: +49 17 631 202 474, umida.niyazova@gmail.com

In London, Klára Skřivánková, ASI (English, Czech): +44 2075018920, k.skrivankova@antislavery.org

In London, Jakub Sobik, ASI (English): +44 2075018920, j.sobik@antislavery.org

In New York, Veronika Szente Goldston, HRW (English, French, Swedish, Hungarian, Finnish): +1-917-582-1271 (mobile); or szentev@hrw.org

In New York, Matthew Fischer-Daly (English, Spanish): +1-347-266-1351, cottoncampaigncoordinator@gmail.com

In Paris, Mutabar Tadjibayeva, Fiery Hearts Club (Russian): +33 679 233 927(mobile), mutabartadjibaeva@gmail.com

In Paris, Nadejda Atayeva, AHRCA (French, Russian): + 33 6 17 46 19 63 (mobile), ahrca.org@gmail.com

In Paris, Johann Bihr, RSF (English, French, Russian): +33 1 44 83 84 67, europe@rsf.org

In Paris, Christine Laroque, ACAT (English, French): +33 1 40 40 74 09, christine.laroque@acatfrance.fr

In Paris, Arthur Manet (English, French, Spanish) - +33 6 72 28 42 94, press@fidh.org

In Prague, Rostislav Valvoda, People in Need (English, Russian, Czech): +420 608 527 312 (mobile)

In Washington DC, Maran Turner, Freedom Now (English): +1 202 223 3733, mturner@freedom-now.org

In Washington, Nate Schenkkan, Freedom House (English, Russian): +1 202 747 7011, Schenkkan@freedomhouse.org