UZB 002 / 0813 / OBS 077
Judicial harassment / Sentencing
August 16, 2013
The Observatoryfor the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of theInternational Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Uzbekistan.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informedby reliable sources about the sentencing in absentia of Ms. Nadejda Atayeva, a human rights defender fromUzbekistan, currently the President of the Association for Human Rights inCentral Asia living in France. Her father, Mr. Alim Atayev, and her brother,Mr. Karhamon Atayev, have likewise been sentenced. They all left Uzbekistan in2000 and arrived in France in 2002, where they were granted political asylum.
According to the informationreceived, on July 24, 2013, Judge Bahram Tashpulatov of the Tashkent City Courtsentenced Ms. Nadejda Atayeva, Mr. Alim Atayev and Mr. Karhamon Atayev torespectively six, nine and seven years of penal colony. Ms. Atayeva was foundguilty of violation of three articles of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan:"larceny by way of embezzlement of property" (Article 167), "forgery in office for the benefit of an organisedgroup" (Article 209) and "legalisation of revenue from criminalactivities" (Article 243). The charges were linked to her father'sposition as the head of the corporation 'Uzlehleboprodukt'; they were broughtafter Mr. Alim Atayev refused to cooperate with the regime on the falsificationof statistics related to grain production in Uzbekistan. The criminal processstarted on April 7, 2000 and was preceded by harassment and threats, which wasthe reason why the family fled Uzbekistan.
The July 24, 2013 verdict waspronounced without the knowledge or presence of Ms. Atayeva and her family.Their representatives were not informed either. Ms. Atayeva found out about thetrial by chance on July 22, 2013. She hired a lawyer, Mr. Tulkin Arifzhanov,who met the Judge on July 25, 2013 in order to obtain a copy of the verdict,which was made available to him only on August 1, 2013. On that day it alsotranspired that each of the convicts had been assigned a State lawyer who hadreceived the verdict already on July 24, 2013.
Ms. Atayeva and her family do notknow the State lawyers and have no contact with them. Nevertheless, they weregiven 10 days counting from July 24, 2013, until August 5, 2013, to appeal theverdict. As the verdict, covering 45 pages, was in Uzbek, a language that Ms.Atayeva does not speak, she had to have it translated into her native language,Russian. The verdict further stated that should Ms. Atayeva wish to appeal thedecision, she must do it in person in Uzbekistan. In spite of thesecircumstances, Ms. Atayeva managed to prepare an appeal of the verdict andsubmit it to the court through her lawyer on August 5, 2013. In the appeal shecategorically denies the charges made against her and calls for an independentjudicial system in Uzbekistan, for the end of fabricated charges and for theend of torture during investigations and in penitentiary institutions. Althoughthe court did not accept the appeal, Ms. Atayeva nevertheless sent it on August5, 2013, by registered post. She is now waiting for an answer.
The Observatory denounces the inabsentia trial and verdict pronounced against Ms. Atayeva and her familyand the ensuing steps taken to de facto prevent her from appealing thedecision, which are flagrant violations to the right to a fair trial anddefence, as guaranteed under international law, in particular the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as Uzbekistan's ownConstitution. The Observatory considers it to be an act of harassment of Ms.Atayeva aimed at punishing and delegitimising her work on human rights over thepast years.
Please write to the Uzbek authorities, urging them to :
i. Take allnecessary measures to guarantee that Ms. Atayeva's appeal is duly reviewed in atransparent trial that meets international standards;
ii. Put an end toany act of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Atayevaand her family and more generally of all human rights defenders in and fromUzbekistan;
iii. Comply withthe provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by theGeneral Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, in particular itsArticle 10, which states that “everyone is entitled in full equality to a fairand public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in thedetermination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge againsthim”;
iv. Comply withthe provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, inparticular its Article 14.3, which states that “In the determination of anycriminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the followingminimum guarantees, in full equality: (a) To be informed promptly and in detailin a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the chargeagainst him (b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of hisdefence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing; (d) To be tried inhis presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance ofhis own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of thisright; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where theinterests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case ifhe does not have sufficient means to pay for it;
v. Comply withthe provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular itsArticle 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually orcollectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights andfundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the Stateshall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competentauthorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, againstany violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination,pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or herlegitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
v. Complywith the provisions of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the 2ndConference on the Human Dimension of the Cooperation and Security Conference inEurope (CSCE) (1990), and guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and otherinternational human rights instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.
- Mr. Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov President of Uzbekistan, ul. Uzbekistanskaya 43, Rezidentsia prezidenta, 700163 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 139 53 25. E-mail: email@example.com
- Mr. Bahodir Matliubov, Minister of Internal Affairs; ul. Junus Rajabiy 1; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 233 89 34. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Mr. Rashidjon Hamidovich Kodirov, General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, ul. Gulamova 66, 700047 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 39 17 / 133 73 68.
- Mr. Vladimir Norov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, pl. Mustakillik, 5; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Sayora Rashidova, Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Prospekt Uzbekistan 16a, 700027 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Tel: (+ 998 71) 239 81 36, Fax (+998 71) 239 81 36. E-mail: email@example.com
- 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
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in yourrespective countries as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies inUzbekistan.
Paris-Geneva, August 16, 2013
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal inyour reply.
The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection ofHuman Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time ofneed.
To contact theObservatory, call the emergency line:
* E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
* Tel and faxFIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
* Tel and faxOMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29