Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2011

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  • In April, a court in Dzhizzakh sentenced 25 men to terms ranging between two and 10 years in prison in connection with the attacks in 2009. All were convicted of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and of religious extremism. At least 12 of the men alleged in court that their confessions had been obtained under torture. The trial judge ordered an investigation into these allegations, and then declared they were unfounded. Independent observers reported that the men had admitted to having participated in prayer meetings and practised sports together, but had denied that they were part of a group intent on overthrowing the constitutional order.
  • In April, Kashkadaria Regional Criminal Court sentenced Zulkhumor Khamdamova, her sister Mekhriniso Khamdamova and their relative, Shakhlo Pakhmatova, to between six and a half and seven years in prison for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and posing a threat to public order. They were part of a group of more than 30 women detained by security forces in counter-terrorism operations in the city of Karshi in November 2009. They were believed to have attended religious classes taught by Zulkhumor Khamdamova in one of the local mosques. The authorities accused Zulkhumor Khamdamova of organizing an illegal religious group, a charge denied by her supporters. Human rights defenders reported that the women were ill-treated in custody; police officers allegedly stripped the women naked and threatened them with rape.
  • Dilorom Abdukadirova, an Uzbek refugee who had fled the country following the violence in Andizhan in 2005, was detained for four days upon her return in January, after receiving assurances from the authorities that she would not face charges. In March, she was detained again and held in police custody for two weeks without access to a lawyer or her family. On 30 April, she was convicted of anti-constitutional activities relating to her participation in the Andizhan demonstrations as well as illegally exiting and entering the country. She was sentenced to 10 years and two months in prison after an unfair trial. Family members reported that she appeared emaciated at the trial and had bruises on her face.

Freedom of expression - human rights defenders and journalists

Human rights defenders and independent journalists were subjected to harassment, beatings, detention and unfair trials. Human rights activists and journalists were summoned for police questioning, placed under house arrest and routinely monitored by uniformed or plain-clothes officers. Others reported being beaten by police officers or by people suspected of working for the security forces.