Uzbekistan: political prisoner Murad Djuraev appeals for help

A political prisoner Murad Djuraev is exempted from working at the brick production plant because of his age. His health is worsening. He is exhausted. According to his wife, Holbeka Djuraeva, he suffers from constant headaches physical weakness. He has been waiting to see a dentist for over 6 months. The dentist was paid to make dentures for him because Djuraev lost his teeth in while in custody. Funds for denture were given by «Freedom now » a human rights organisation. 

Murad Djuraev
Murad Djuraev was born in 1952 in the town of Mubarak of Kashkadarya region of Uzbekistan. He is married and has three children. He graduated from the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute. Between 1989 and 1992 he worked as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the City Council of the town of Mubarek. Between 1991-1992 he was a member of Parliament of Uzbekistan. He was accused of conspiring with the leader of the opposition political party "Erk" Muhammad Salih. According to the authorities, they wanted to organise a violent seizure of power. Murad Djuraev has been in prison since 18 September 1994. 

On 31 May 1995 Djuraev was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment to be served in high security prison and confiscation of his property. In accordance with an Act of Amnesty his sentence was reduced by 3 years.

Shortly before the end of his sentence term on 27 July 2004, Djuarev was convicted on trumped-up charges under Article 221 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan « Disobedience to Legitimate Orders of Administration of Institution of Execution of Penalty» for yet another three years of imprisonment. The same happened on 27 July 2006 when his, then, last sentence term was coming to the end; the prisoner was given an additional three years of imprisonment under Article 221 of the Criminal code of Uzbekistan. On 31 May 2009, using the same Article, his prison term was again extended by three years and four months. Among other reasons given – the punishment was given because he “improperly peeled carrots,” while working in the kitchen. On 13 November 2012, he completed his fourth sentence. On 4 December 2012, Murad Djuraev was sentenced again to three years and 24 days, once again under the Article 221 of the Criminal Code of Republic of Uzbekistan. 

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia – AHRCA appeals to representatives of governments, international and inter-state organisations to call upon Uzbekistan to grant access to medical, as well as dental care urgently for Murad Djuraev. Uzbekistan pledged to implement ratified international agreements on human rights, including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This report was sent to: 
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;
  • UN Special Rapporteur on Torture;
  • EU special rapporteur on Central Asia;
  • EU special rapporteur on human rights;
  • The governments of democratic countries;
  • International human rights organizations 
You can sign on-goint petition to free Murad Djuraev via the link:

Our previous publications about Murad Djuraev:
         – Petition «On the Day of the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights please support a petition for freedom of Uzbek political prisoner Murad Djuraev!» dated 9 December 2013;
          Press release «Uzbekistan: There is a red band on the file of a political prisoner Murad Djuraev» dated 29 April 2013;
          Press release «
Uzbekistan: An appeal against the sentence in the case of Murat Juraev is rejected» dated 1 January 2013;
          Press release «Uzbekistan: Murad Djuraev is sentenced to another term of imprisonment of three years 24 days» dated 16 December  2012;;
          Press release «Uzbekistan: Free Political Prisoners on Constitution Day. Use Anniversary to Advance Real Reform» dated 6 December 2012;
          Press release «Uzbekistan: Ailing political prisoner Murad Djuraev is again placed in solitary confinement» dated 14 October 2012;
          Press release «It is not possible to find out the location of political prisoner Murad Djuraev for the last four months» dated 17 September 2009.


Uzbekistan: Two Human Rights Defenders Imprisoned for 8 Years, 3 Months

A trial took place in Tashkent of human rights advocates Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov. They were falsely accused of “trafficking in persons” and sentenced to 8 years and three months.

On 6 March 2014, in Tashkent in the Shayhantaur District Court for Criminal Cases, the trial of two members of the Mazlum Human Rights Center took place: Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuriddin Jumaniyazov. They were charged under Art. 135 of the Criminal Code (“trafficking in persons”). The prosecutor asked for 12 years of imprisonment. The court sentenced both the human rights advocates to 10 years and 8 months of imprisonment and applied the amnesty act passed by the Senate of Uzbekistan. The final term of punishment was thus 8 years and 3 months of imprisonment. 

Fakhriddin Tillaev
Fakhriddin Khabibulloevich Tillaev was born on 15 August 1971 in the city of Baysun of the Surkhandarya Region of Uzbekistan. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Married. Two children. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Maslum Human Rights Center. Since 2005, he has been involved in the defense of labor rights in Surkhandarya Region. In 2012, he was one of the founders of the Union of Independent Trade Unions for support of labor migrants (the director is Abdulla Todjiboy- ugly).

Nuraddin Reimbergenovich Djumaniyazov, born 8 October 1948, in the city of Turtkul, Karakalpak ASSR, Uzbekistan. Citizen of Uzbekistan. Divorced. Two children. Since 2003, has been a member of the Maslum Human Rights Center. In 2012, took part in the creation of the Union of Independence Trade Unions for support of labor migrants and headed its Tashkent chapter.

  • Investigation
On 14 February 2014, the face-to-face interrogation of Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov took place. On the same day, they were charged, the preliminary inquiry was begun and completed, and the case was transferred to the prosecutor’s office. The accused and their attorneys were not given time to familiarize themselves with the criminal case. The excessive speed of the investigative measures grossly violated the code of criminal procedures of Uzbekistan.

On 2 January 2014, Tillaev and Djumaniyazov were arrested with the sanction of the court, but the materials of the arrest case were dated 4 January. This is not the first case of falsification of the date of arrest in the practice of Uzbekistan.
  • Torture
On 21 January 2014, during a meeting with his attorney Polina Braunerg, Tillaev said that he could not hear out of his right ear and that it was bleeding periodically. Then he reported that he had been forced to stand for hours under a faucet from which water dripped on his head. This caused a severe headache. The torturers also stuck needles between his fingers and toes.

When she learned of the torture, the lawyer appealed the same day to the investigator with a petition for forensic medical examination. Yet not until 5 March did she receive a reply from the investigator. He reported that he had sent her petition to Tashkent Prison, where Tillaev was being held, but only the prison administration could review it. In the event of a refusal, the attorney could send an inquiry to the head of the investigative division of the Interior Ministry of Uzbekistan. Likely, in this way, the investigator was trying to delay the assignment of a forensic medical examination.

In the materials of the criminal case, there were inquiries from Tillaev’s attorney on the conducting of the examination. The conclusion is missing from the materials of the case; therefore it was not mentioned in court, and experts did not take part in the proceeding. All of this was done so that the court would not even have the opportunity to take into account the complaints on the use of torture.
  • Trial
Tillaev’s attorney Polina Brauberg learned of the date of the trial in the afternoon of 5 March 2014, that is, with less than a day’s notice. In fact, she learned this accidently, when she went to the Shaykhantaur Court for Criminal Cases for another case. The trial was scheduled for 11:00 a.m., but it began after 13:00 and lasted until 17:00. The court proceeding took about five hours, and was taped by a cameraman from UzTV Channel One.

The prosecutor came to the trial with a triumphant expression, and apparently knew about the videotaping. According to witnesses, she was not familiar with the criminal case and looked through it from the hands of Judge Sanjar Muhammadov.

The “victims” took part in the trial. They informed the court that they had not seen Tillaev and had no relationship to him whatsoever. They confirmed that they had asked Djumaniyazovto give them the address of a southern Kazakhstani firm where they could ask about placement for temporary work. Without compensation, he connected them to a job placement agent in Chimkent (Kazakhstan).  In the case file, there is information that the “victims” Erkin Erdanov and Farhod Pardayev had freedom of movement, and access to international telephone communication. At their request, part of their wages was transferred from Kazakhstan to the account of relatives in Uzbekistan. Erdanov and Pardayev were offered free housing and meals. They were paid a salary for 25 days.

Their colleague Abdulla Tojiboy-ugly spoke particularly actively at the trial, and essentially took the side of the prosecution. He shouted and hurled insults at the defendants. Even the judge noted that Todjiboy-ugly was obliged to answer the questions of the court and not give an appraisal of the actions of the defendants.

On that same day, the prosecutor read the indictment and the court opened the pleadings.

At the end of the court session, the sentence was read out.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) notes that the trial of the human rights defenders Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuraddin Djumaniyazov was not independent or impartial. The sides were not equal in the trial and the tilt toward the prosecution predominated, that is, the court essentially supported the prosecution. Under such circumstances, the evidence cannot be examined.
   - The defense had the opportunity to be present during the investigation and 5 hours in court;
   - Tillaev and Djumaniyazov did not have time to familiarize themselves with the materials of the case, which violated their right to defense;
   - The court reviewed the case extremely fast. It accepted groundless evidence from the prosecution, which relied not only on the testimonies of the “vicims”; the latter could not prove that they had been subject to force during their work for a southern Kazakhstani firm. In the materials of the case, there was no information about inquiries from the investigation to Kazakhstan, no information about how the victims had not been paid for their labor, that the employers restrained them or deprived them of their freedom of movement, or any other qualifying signs for such a crime as trafficking in persons.

The Association of Human Rights of Central Asia (AHRCA) has sent a report:
          - to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
          - to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
          - to the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers
          - to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
          - to the EU Special Representative on Central Asia
          - to the EU Special Representative on Human Rights
          - to the governments of democratic countries

We urge you to call on the government of Uzbekistan to fulfill the international agreements it has ratified in the area of human rights, including the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Forms of Treatment and Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Previously we had written about this case in the press release “Uzbekistan: Fakhriddin Tillaev, a human rights activist is under threat of long term imprisonment” on 17 February 2014.


Over the Last Year, the Situation in the Kazakh Service of RFE/RL Has Not Improved

Interim Managers of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
John Giambalvo and Nenad Pejic

(Appeal №2)

Copied to:
Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Jeff Shell 

Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors Steve Linick

Dear John Giambalvo and Nenad Pejic,

In recent days we have been planning to release our second open letter to your predecessor, Mr. Kevin Klose, President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, expressing our disappointment. For the whole year, he didnot responded to our first letter, however, the issues which we wrote about inour letter of 15 May 2013, are getting worse

We call on you to investigate, without delay, the numerous appeals and complaints regarding the work style of the directors of the Kazakh, Tajik and Turkmen Services of RFE/RL. These services are systematically violating the labour rights of correspondents and journalists who have dared to protest against violations of the principles of editorial policy. They have suffered harassment and dismissals.

The U.S. administration considers Central Asian countries as strategic partners. Perhaps, therefore, the crimes against humanity committed by the dictators in the region have gone unnoticed.

The lack of response on your part is puzzling. We have already noted facts that require a legal assessment:

1) The Kazakh Service of RFE/RL is white-washing the image of dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, and actively takes part in actions of state propaganda.

2) Materials broadcast by the Kazakh and Turkmen Services of the RFE/RL replicate the lies and official information of the government press.

3) The Kazakh Service of RFE/RL actively and openly cooperates with the NGO WikiBilim in Astana. This is a state-funded organisation which produces the Kazakh-language section of Wikipedia.  Articles produced by the organisation are of pro-government nature, find the details in the announcement published on May 15th, 2013.

4) The site of the Kazakh Service of RFE/RL continues to operate the notorious entertainment sections “Wifi-25" and "Chat Aitys" which propagates outright vulgarity. There are other vulgar and obscene materials also found in the social networks pages of the Kazakh service.

5) The section titled "Nowruz Aitys" [Наурыз Айтыс] , started in 2013, is filled with racism, chauvinism, homophobia and vulgarity. It disseminates recordings of the competition held by the Government of Kazakhstan. The materials contained in this section call for the re-drawing of the border of Kazakhstan, and contain incitement of hatred towards foreigners and the neighboring nations, for example:
 - Begarys Shoybekov, a poet, tells his rival in the competition that she has become as ugly as a "Sart". (In the original Kazakh: «Сүйкімсіз болып кеттің ғой сарттай болып». The word "Sart" in Central Asia is a pejorative reference to ethnic Uzbeks.
 - The poet Birzhan Baytuov expresses his dislike for the Chinese, who, according to him, are invading Kazakhstan under the guise of oil investors, and the number of "slit-eyed" has grown in Almaty, in the West and the South of Kazakhstan. He compares the Chinese to midges that sit on the collars of the Kazakhs. (In the original Kazakh: «Батысымда мұнайды себеп қылып»
         Шіркедей қонып алды жағамызға
Міне енді оңтүстікке қадам басты
Бұған қарсы бір айла табамыз ба?»)
         (translation from the Kazakh:
 «The Midges have settled on our collars
Under the pretext of oil exploration in my  West.
Now here they come to the South,
Will we be able to oppose this?»

-  According to the authors of "Nowruz Aitys", Tashkent and Orenburg are supposedly Kazakh cities "unfairly given to Uzbekistan and Russia"; Nazarbayev is a "good guy,” and the "bad people around him" or "internal enemies" - leaders of the Kazakh opposition Vladimir Kozlov and Mukhtar Ablyazov – are to blame for the difficulties of Kazakhstan.

6) The Kazakh service of RFE /RL started promoting the ideas of fascism and xenophobia through an online conference with representatives of Kazakh nationalist movements that call themselves natspaty - that is, "national-patriots.”
 - On 26 November 2013, Serikzhan Mambetalin, a natspat stated: “It is time to consolidate all the Kazakh nationalists and be prepared for snap elections; as it stands right now, the Kazakh nationalists do not have their own political party”.  At the same time, he stated that all Kazakhs should be nationalists.
 -  Natspat  Mukhtar Tayzhan known for his fascist, anti-Russian slogans, has also been a frequent guest of the Kazakh editors. On 20 November 2013, he stated that he estimated the number of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan had increased significantly and reached 73% of the population. He added that politics in Kazakhstan, in his opinion, should correspond to demographics.

7) The Kazakhservice of RFE/RL violates the requirements of Western journalism and showslack of principle or even betrays the interests of the corporation. On 8 February 2014, Dina Baydildayeva, the Social Networking Editor of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service, held a protest in central Almaty against the arrest of a few activist-bloggers, publicly acknowledging them as her friends. Baydildayeva also demanded the resignation of Yesimov, the head of the city administration or mayor. This action was taken despite the rule that RFE/RL employees should not participate in political activities. On 20 February of this year, Baydildayevapersonally and openly participated in another protest in the center of Almaty according to another video report published by theKazakh service of RFE/RL.  
Dina Baydildayeva often makes ribald comments on Facebook – both in her capacity as an editor of RFE/ RL for Social Networking in Kazakhstan and as a private individual. For example, on 9 September 2013, she posted an article about the wife of the dictator Bashar Assad, and commented, "Beautiful bitch."

8) Various forces within the ruling elite of Kazakhstan create manageable nationalist movements for introduction into the public consciousness of the ideas of fascism and xenophobia in society and in order to maintain "controlled tension.” It is very unfortunate that the RFE/RL Kazakh Service is involved in such dirty political games, because these materials can be perceived by the audience as the official U.S. position . Former RFE/RL employees and opposition activists say that such things became possible after the hiring (under mysterious circumstances) of the former deputy head of the city administration of Almaty, Galym Bokasha in 2010, who also turned out to belong to the same tribe as Edige Magauin, the Director of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service. But the journalists who dared to criticize the practice of tribalism, nepotism and corruption in the editorial office – Saida Kalkulova, Nazir Darimbet, Sagat Batyrkhan and Ukulyay Bestayev – were dismissed in 2012. The social circles of Kazakhstan continue to criticize abuses in the Kazakh Service, but the top management of RFE/RL continues to ignore it.

9) Messrs Edige Magauin and Galim Bokash are making peculiar findings themselves. If any material on the  website of the Kazakh Service attracts criticism, it gets quietly removed or "erased". It happened, for example, with the article "«Өзбекстанда қамалған қазақ сотталып кетті" (translated as "Kazakh Arrested in Uzbekistan Convicted"). Reader Comments on this item contained explicit insults of Uzbeks, but after our previous Open Letter these comments were rewritten, which is unacceptable from an ethical perspective. The same thing happened with the poetic periodical "ChatAitys" and comments on it; in early 2013, editors of the RFE/RL Kazakh cleanedout the word "sperm" and "sauna" following criticism in thepress.

For the last 12 months, Galym Bokash, editor-in-chief of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service, has been receiving praise in a series ofmaterials published in pro-government media. His publications are advertise in the social network Facebook by activists of nationalist organisations such as Mukhtar Tayzhan, Ajdos Syry and Yerlan Karin, the highest functionary of the central apparatus of Nazarbayev's party Nur Otan.

Dear John Giambalvo and Nenad Pejic,

Upon assuming the duties of President or RFE/RL with more than 60 years of experience in the promotion of democratic values ​​in the former communist bloc, we wish you success in restoring its reputation and audience. We hope you will let us know the results of your investigation into the facts set out in this statement.

Yours faithfully,

Nadejda Atayeva, President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia

Arif Yunusov, PhD in History, Head of the Department of Conflicts and Immigration of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, Expert of International Network of Ethnic Monitoring  and Prevention of Conflicts, Expert of Independent Research Council on Migration from CIS and Baltic Countries, Expert for the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia.

Leyla Yunus, Ph.D. (History), Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan, member of the French Legion of Honour, winner of the Theodore Hacker International Award For Political Courage and Honesty.

Sergey Ignatyev, Representative in the USA, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia;
Dmitry Belomestnov, Representative in Russia, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia;
Alisher Abidov, Representative in Norway, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia;