URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
UZB 001 / 0918 / OBS 111
September 6, 2018
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requestsyour intervention in the following situation in Uzbekistan.
Description of the situation:
TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest,ill-treatment and ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Agzam Turgunov,Chairman of the human rights organisation “Mazlum” (“Oppressed”, in English).Mr. Agzam Turgunov has been actively advocating for the political and religiousrights of convicted prisoners. He has long worked on problems of education andtorture in prisons, as well as monitored judicial proceedings.
Accordingto the information received, on August 29, 2018, Mr. Agzam Turgunov wasarrested while recording with his phone a violent incident opposing members ofthe security forces and individuals gathered in front of the Supreme Court ofUzbekistan for a reception. Three men in civilian clothes approached him,refused to identify themselves, grabbed Mr. Turgunov roughly and forced him toget into a car. Once in the car, a police officer named Rustam Muradov grabbedMr. Agzam Turgunov’s head and began to strangle him while trying to take hisphone and delete the records. At the same time, he reproached Mr. Turgunov his“cooperation with the Americans and the West”. The same day, Mr. Turgunov wastaken to the Shaikhantaur district Court for criminal cases where the judge seta trial date on the following day, before releasing him.
OnAugust 30, 2018, Mr. Turgunov was convicted of “failure to carry out the lawfuldemands of a police officer or other persons carrying out duties to guardpublic order” under Article 194 of the administrative code of Uzbekistan. Hewas imposed a fine of one minimum wage (around 20 EUR). The policemen did notappear in court during the trial. Mr. Turgunov intends to appeal this decision.
Onthe same day, Mr. Turgunov was told by an agent of the Department of Visas andPassports that his request for permission to leave Uzbekistan to travel abroadhad been denied. As other human rights defenders also under travel ban, he willnot be able to attend the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the OSCE inWarsaw mid-September 2018.
TheObservatory notes that this is not the first attack Mr. Agzam Turgunov hasfaced in retaliation to his legitimate human rights activities since he onlywas released from prison on October 7, 2017, after serving nine years of prisonon unfounded extortion charges.
TheObservatory strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and the ongoing judicialharassment against Mr. Agzam Turgunov as they are only aimed at punishing himfor his legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls on the Uzbekauthorities to end any harassment, including at the judicial level, and dropall charges against him as well as against all the human rights defenderscurrently arbitrarily detained in the country as well as to lift all travelbans so that human rights defenders can freely carry out their right to defendhuman rights including at the international level.
Pleasewrite to the authorities of Uzbekistan asking them to:
i. Guarantee inall circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. AgzamTurgunov and all human rights defenders in the Uzbekistan;
ii. Put an endto all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. AgzamTurgunov and all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country;
iii. Carry outan independent investigation on the above-mentioned allegations ofill-treatement and bring the authors to justice;
iv. Lift alltravel bans against human rights defenders so as to ensure their legitimateright to defend human rights including at the international level;
v. Comply with all the provisions of theUnited Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN GeneralAssembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6(a), 9, and 12.2;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamentalfreedoms in accordance with international human rights standards andinternational instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.
· Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev,President of Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 1395325. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. Azizov Abdusalom Abdumavlanovich, Minister of Internal Affairs. Fax:+ 998 71 233 89 34. Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. Abdulaev Ikhtior Bakhtiorovich, GeneralProsecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 39 17. E-mail: email@example.com
· Mr. Abdulaziz Komilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs.Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Ms. Ulugbek Mukhammadiev, Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights. Fax:+998 71 139 85 55. E-mail: email@example.com
· Mr. Ulugbek Lapasov, Permanent Mission of Uzbekistanto the United Nations in Geneva. Fax: +41 22 799 43 02. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Mr. Vladimir Norov, Ambassador, Embassy of Uzbekistanto Belgium. Fax. +32 2 672 39 46 Email: email@example.com
Please alsowrite to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in your respectivecountries.
Paris-Geneva, September 6, 2018
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting thecode of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is toprevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDHand OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, theEuropean Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civilsociety.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· Teland fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Teland fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29