Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2010

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  • In September, at the start of the first trial of suspects in the 26 May attacks in Khanabad, human rights activists reported that the trial was closed, despite earlier assurances by the Prosecutor General that it would be open and fair.
  • At least 30 men were arrested in October in Sirdaria on suspicion of involvement in the July killings in Tashkent and of being members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Relatives of some of the accused said the men had no connections with Hizb-ut-Tahrir or armed groups but merely practised their faith in unregistered mosques. In October relatives alleged that some of the accused had been tortured in pre-trial detention in an attempt to force them to confess to participating in the July killings. One mother said her son's face was swollen and his body covered in bruises, that needles had been inserted in the soles of his feet and electric shocks applied to his anus, and that he had difficulty eating, standing and walking.

Torture and other ill-treatment

There were continued reports of widespread torture or other ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners, and the authorities failed in most cases to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into torture allegations. Several thousand people convicted of involvement with Islamic movements and Islamist parties banned in Uzbekistan continued to serve long prison terms under conditions that amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

  • In January an appeals court in Tashkent upheld the prison sentences of up to 17 years of four police officers convicted in December 2008 of torture. The officers had been convicted of killing 30-year-old Muzaffar Tuichev in the town of Angren in March 2008. Relatives said he had been detained to extort money from him, and that up to 15 police officers had beaten and tortured him for several hours.
  • Poet and government critic Yusuf Dzhuma, sentenced to five years' imprisonment in April 2008 for allegedly resisting arrest and causing bodily harm, was said in November to be emaciated, ill and barely able to walk. He was reportedly held in punishment cells for periods of up to 11 days, and on one occasion handcuffed, hung by his hands from the ceiling and repeatedly beaten. He told his family that, during a visit to Yaslik prison camp by delegates of the ICRC, he had been transferred to a prison in Nukus, denied food and drink, refused access to a toilet and held naked in very cold conditions.
  • In November the independent human rights organization Ezgulik reported that two sisters arrested in Tashkent in May on charges of hooliganism and robbery were repeatedly raped in custody by police officers. Their family said the charges were fabricated. They were subsequently sentenced to six and seven years in prison. One of the sisters reportedly became pregnant as a result of the rapes and tried to kill herself. In December the General Prosecutor's office said it would investigate.

Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders and independent journalists continued to be harassed, beaten and detained, although the authorities repeatedly denied this.

Although some human rights defenders were conditionally released in 2008 and 2009, others remained in prison following conviction in previous years.