Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2010

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  • At least 10 human rights defenders were still held in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions, serving long prison terms imposed after unfair trials. They had limited access to relatives and legal representatives, and were reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated. At least three human rights defenders were sentenced to long prison terms during the year on allegedly fictitious charges brought to punish them for their work, in particular for defending farmers' rights.
  • The health of 60-year-old Norboi Kholzhigitov, a member of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan serving a 10-year prison sentence imposed in 2005 for libel and fraud, deteriorated so seriously that his family feared for his life. The charges against him were reportedly fabricated to punish him for his human rights activities on behalf of farmers. He was denied appropriate medical care for diabetes and high blood pressure, but was transferred to a prison hospital in December.
  • In July Dilmurod Saidov, a journalist and human rights defender, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for fraud and bribery after an unfair trial. He was believed to have been imprisoned for defending the rights of farmers in the Samarkand region and exposing corruption by local authorities. He was said to be gravely ill in prison with tuberculosis. During his trial, all the prosecution witnesses withdrew their accusations, saying that the prosecuting authorities had forced them to make false statements. An appeals court upheld the sentence in October.
  • In October Farkhad Mukhtarov, a long-standing member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, was sentenced after a reportedly unfair trial to five years in prison for bribery and fraud relating to property deals. The charges were believed to have been politically motivated to punish him for his human rights activities. An appeal court upheld the sentence.

Human rights activists and journalists were summoned for police questioning, placed under house arrest or routinely monitored by uniformed or plain-clothes officers. Others reported being beaten by the police or by people suspected of working for the security forces. Relatives also alleged that they were threatened and harassed.