Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of a Kyrgyz human rights defender

Paris-Geneva, March 16, 2010. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), expresses its deepest concern about the detention of the Kyrgyz human rights defender Mr. Nematillo Botakuziev.

On February 26, 2010, Mr. Nematillo Botakuziev, a member of the Kyrgyz human rights centre "Justice-Truth", involved in the protection of civil and political rights, was reported missing after he went to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and dealt with the proceedings of his registration for international protection. His wife reportedly last spoke to him on the phone at around 3 p.m., and according to the UNHCR staff, he would have left the UNHCR office between 4 and 7 p.m.

On March 13, 2010, Mr. Ravshan Gapirov, the Director of “Justice-Truth”, found out that Mr. Nematillo Botakuziev was being held in the detention facility located at 39 Molodaya Gvardia street in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. According to Mr. Gapirov, Mr. Botakuziev, who recently suffered a heart attack, would have been subjected to repeated beatings and would be in a dire state. As of issuing this press release, no information could be obtained regarding the reasons of his detention.

Mr. Botakuziev has been a member of the “Justice-Truth” organisation since 2004 and worked as its representative in the Kyrgyz town of Nookat. He arrived to Tajikistan from Kyrgyzstan in February 2010, after he had been hiding In Kyrgyzstan since October 2008, as he was accused of organising a violent protest in the centre of the Kyrgyz town of Nookat and prosecuted on fabricated charges, reportedly for denouncing the repression of this demonstration by the Kyrgyz security forces before international media and NGOs.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about Mr. Nematillo Botakuziev’s arbitrary detention and firmly condemns the acts of ill-treatment against him, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities.

Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon the Tajik authorities to provide Mr. Botakuziev urgent and appropriate medical care as well as to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity, in conformity with the 1998 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, with the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities, and with the 2007 Resolution of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on Strengthening OSCE Engagement with Human Rights Defenders and National Human Rights Institutions.

Our organisations further urge the Tajik authorities to release Mr. Botakuziev immediately and unconditionally and to order a thorough, immediate, effective and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned facts, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law.

For further information, please contact:

  • FIDH: Gael Grilhot / Karine Appy: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
  • OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: + 41 22 809 49 39
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