Urgent Interventions

Uzbekistan: Arbitrary sentencing of several human rights defenders

UZB 001 / 0306 / OBS 026

Arbitrary sentences Uzbekistan March 14, 2006 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Uzbekistan.

Brief description of the facts:

The Observatory has been informed by a reliable source of the arbitrary sentences pronounced against several human rights defenders. According to the information received, on March 6, 2006, Mrs. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva, Head of the “Ardent Hearts’ Club”, a human rights organisation based in Margilan, in the Fergana valley was sentenced to a eight-year prison term by the court of Dustobod, Urta Chirchik rayon court, in Tashkent oblast, for 17 different charges - mostly economic -, including “slander” (article 139.3 of the Criminal Code) and “membership of an illegal organisation” (article 244) on the grounds that the Ardent Hearts’ Club would not be registered under the “Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Liability concerning NGOs”, adopted on December 28, 2005. The judicial proceedings would have been marred with many irregularities. Indeed, Mrs. Tojibaeva was not allowed to meet her lawyers in private, and several defence witnesses were ordered to leave the Court before giving their statements. She was also denied enough time to become familiar with the 5,000 pages of case materials and to discuss it with her lawyer. The Observatory strongly condemns this sentence, which blatantly violates the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular article 14.3, which states that “everyone charged with a criminal charge against him [...] shall be entitled [...] to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing” and with article 6.3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which provides that “everyone charged with a criminal offence has the [...] right to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence”. The Observatory is also extremely concerned about the fact that no information have been communicated about the place and conditions of her detention. The Observatory recalls that Mrs. Tojibaeva had been arrested at her home on October 7, 2005, by sixteen officers from the Department of Home Affairs, while she was preparing to attend the Third Platform on Human Rights Defenders organised by Frontline in Dublin (Republic of Ireland). Mrs. Tojibaeva was then charged with “extortion” under Article 165.2b of the Criminal Code, in connection with a dispute with one of her employees to whom she had lent a large sum of money that was to be repaid to her. It was when this employee visited Mrs. Tojibaeva’s home and gave her some of the money that the law and order forces burst in her home. On December 24, 2005, fourteen other charges were filed against Mrs. Tojibaeva. Furthermore, on January 11, 2006, four human rights defenders were sentenced for “infringement on President’s life” (article 158-3 of the Criminal Code), “undermining the constitutional order” (article 159-3), “preparation and distribution of materials threatening public order” (article 244-1.3) and “membership in a religious extremist organisation” (article 244-1). These four defenders are: Dilmurad Muhitdinov, President of the Markhamat section of Ezgulik, a human rights NGO, sentenced to five years of imprisonment ; Messrs. Akbarali Oripov, an Ezgulik member, Mussajon Bobojanov, Ezgulik member and Chairman of the local political organisation of Birlik and Nurmuhammad Azizov, Chairman of the section of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) in Andijan, were sentenced to three years of probation, and then released. Mr. Dilmurad Muhitdinov and Mr. Mussajon Bobojanov had been arrested on May 28, 2005; their computers, CDs and other documents were seized. Mr. Nurmuhammad Azizov and Mr. Akbarali Oripov had been arrested on June 2, 2005, during searches of their homes by agents of the Ministry of the Interior of Markhamat in Andijan region. Mr. Azizov was charged with “a slur on the President of the Republic”, “infringement of the constitutional order”, “fabrication and dissemination of material constituting a threat to public order and security” and “organisation of illegal public or religious assemblies”. They were detained in Tashkent prison (See Observatory Urgent Appeals UZB 001/0505/OBS 036.1 and 036.2). The Observatory considers the detentions of Mrs. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva and Mr. Dilmurad Muhitdinov to be arbitrary as they only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities in Uzbekistan.

Actions required:

Please write to the Uzbek authorities urging them to: i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mrs. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva, and Messrs. Dilmurad Muhitdinov, Hamdam Sulaymonov, Akbarali Oripov, Mussajon Bobojanov and Nurmuhammad Azizov; ii. Release immediately and unconditionally Mrs. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva and Mr. Dilmurad Muhitdinov since their detention is arbitrary; iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against them as well as all other human rights defenders in Uzbekistan; iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and 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. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.

Addresses :

  • President of Uzbekistan, Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov, ul. Uzbekistanskaya 43, Rezidentsia prezidenta, 700163 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, Fax: +998 71 133 7258, E-mail:

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elyor Majidovich Ganiev, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700029 g. Tashkent; pl. Mustakillik, 5; Ministerstvo inostrannykh del RU, S.S., Uzbekistan, Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17

  • Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Sayora Rashidova, ul. Xalqlar Dostligi 1, 700035 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, Fax: +998 71 139 85 55, E-mail:

  • Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ubaydulla Mingbaev, Respublika Uzbekistan; 700183 g. Tashkent; ul. Abdulla Kodiri, 1; Verkhovny Sud Respubliki Uzbekistan

  • General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Rashidjon Hamidovich Kodirov, ul. Gulyamova 66, 700047 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, Fax: +998 71 133 39 17, E-mail:

  • National Centre for Human Rights, Senator Akmal Saidov Natsionalny tsentr po pravam cheloveka, 5/3, Mustakillik Maidoni, g. Tashkent, Respublika Uzbekistan. 700029, Fax: + 998 71 139 13 56 / 45 16, E-mail:

  • Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United Nations in Geneva, PO Box 1853, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland, Fax: +4122 799 43 02, E-mail:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in your respective countries. *** Geneva-Paris, March 14, 2006 Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply. The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic. To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line: Email : Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80 Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
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