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Uzbekistan
19.04.12
Urgent Interventions

Conditional release of Mr. Alisher Karamatov

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information

UZB 001 / 0109 / OBS 005.2

Early conditional release

Uzbekistan

April 19, 2012

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), has received new information on the following situation in Uzbekistan.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the early conditional release of Mr. Alisher Karamatov, Head of the Mirzaabad regional branch of Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), particularly active in the defence of economical and social rights.

According to the information received, on April 12, 2012, Mr. Karamatov benefited from an early conditional release after serving six years of his nine-year prison sentence.

The Observatory welcomes the conditional release of Mr. Karamatov and thanks all the persons, institutions and organisations who intervened in his favour. However, the Observatory denounces the ongoing harassment of a large number of human rights defenders who currently remain arbitrarily detained, in an attempt to sanction their human rights activities.

Moreover, the Observatory urges the Uzbek authorities to carry out a prompt, impartial and transparent investigation into the acts of torture suffered by Mr. Karamatov while in detention, in order to identify all those responsible and to sanction them according to law.

Background information:

Mr. Alisher Karamatov was arrested on April 29, 2006, after he had refused to stop his human rights activities. He was sentenced on June 15, 2006, to nine years in prison after being tortured and confessing “fabricated extortion” charges, after the public minister had accused him of having extorted money from farmers in Syrdarya region in exchange for assistance in solving their problems with local officials.

After being detained within the U/Ya 64/18 medical facility, Mr. Karamatov was transferred to the prison clinic, where he was diagnosed with an advanced form of tuberculosis in both lungs in October 2008. Since January 2011, he had been serving his sentence in a prison colony in Karshi.

During his detention, he was subjected to several acts of ill-treatments and torture. On December 30, 2008, after refusing to admit a breach of the prison regime, Mr. Karamatov was forced to stand outside half-naked in freezing temperatures for almost four hours.

The health of Mr. Alisher Karamatov continued to deteriorate throughout 2010 for lack of appropriate medical care. In addition, he was not authorised to call home whereas each prisoner is normally entitled to four calls per year. On August 10, 2010, his wife was allowed to visit him for 40 minutes instead of the three-day visit she was normally entitled to, allegedly because of “a too high number of visitors”[1]. In December 2010, after meeting with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr. Karamatov was harassed by law-enforcement agents[2].

After his wife visited him in April 2011, she had reported that Karamatov had lost weight and was very thin, had developed sores all over his body, and was waking up with traces of blood in his mouth. On April 25, 2011, Mr. Karamatov’s wife appealed to the Office of the Ombudsman, requesting that he be released on medical grounds due his critical health condition.

Actions requested :

Please write to the Uzbek authorities, urging them to :

i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Alisher Karamatov and more generally of all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the acts of torture faced by Mr. Karamatov, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to any act of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Alisher Karamatov and more generally of all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Comply with the provisions of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the 2nd Conference on the Human Dimension of the Cooperation and Security Conference in Europe (CSCE) (1990), and guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.

Addresses :

· Mr. Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov President of Uzbekistan, ul. Uzbekistanskaya 43, Rezidentsia prezidenta, 700163 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 1395325. E-mail: presidents_office@press-service.uz

· Mr. Bahodir Matliubov, Minister of Internal Affairs; ul. Junus Rajabiy 1; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 233 89 34. Email: mvd@mvd.uz, info@mvd.uz, secretariyat@mvd.uz

· Mr. Rashidjon Hamidovich Kodirov, General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, ul. Gulamova 66, 700047 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 39 17. E-mail: prokuratura@lawyer.com

· Mr. Vladimir Norov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, pl. Mustakillik, 5; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17. E-mail: rnews@mfa.uz

· Ms. Sayora Rashidova, Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, ul. Xalqlar Dostligi 1, 700035 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 139 85 55. E-mail: office@ombudsman.gov.uz

· Senator Akmal Saidov, Natsionalny Tsentr po pravam cheloveka / National Centre for Human Rights, Mustakillik Maidoni 5/3, 700029 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan Fax: + 998 71 139 13 56 / 45 16, E-mail: office@nchr.uz

· Head of the Nukus City Department of Internal Affairs (police), Glave GOVD, Gorodskoi Otdel Vnutrennikh Del, ul. Biruni, g. Nukus, AR Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.

· H.E Ms. Goulnora Karimova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Uzbekistan to the United Nations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc G (7th Floor), Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 799 43 02. Email: uzbekistan@bluewin.ch

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in your respective countries as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Uzbekistan.

***

Paris-Geneva, April 19, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] The facility comprises 18 visiting rooms for 3,000 prisoners. Similarly, on January 5, 2010, instead of three days, she could only see him one day.

[2] He received a visit from an officer of the SNB, who asked many questions about his relatives. The Superintendent of the colony U/Ya 64/49 also met him, asking why he had spoken badly about the conditions in the colony to the ICRC representatives. When the ICRC visited Mr. Karamatov again mid-March 2011 they were this time accompanied by three members of the Uzbek police.

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