Uzbekistan
25.07.06
Urgent Interventions

Uzbekistan: Mrs. Tojibaeva's arbitrary detention

New information
UZB 001 / 0306 / OBS 026.1
Arbitrary detention / Fear for ill-treatments / Arbitrary sentence
Uzbekistan

July 25, 2006

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), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Uzbekistan.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources that Mrs. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva, Head of the “Ardent Hearts’ Club”, a human rights organisation based in Margilan, in the Fergana valley, was transferred to a psychiatric section of a women’s detention centre in the Mirabad district, Tashkent.

According to information received, on July 7, 2006, Mrs. Tojibaeva was transferred from her cell in the Tashkent centre of detention to a psychiatric service for mentally ill and drug-addicted persons, in a women’s detention centre located in the Mirabad district, Tashkent.

On July 13, 2006, Mrs. Tojibaeva's lawyer was allowed to meet with her client, who had her hands tied together. Mrs Tojibaeva did not explain the reasons why, as they were under observation. Since then, Mrs. Tojibaeva has not been allowed to receive other visits, and no official reasons have been given for her transfer, despite her lawyer's requests.

According to her lawyer, Mrs. Tojibaeva looked very weak and depressed, and is reportedly denied access to any adequate medical treatment. She has allegedly been forced to take some medication, content and effects of which are unknown.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about Mrs. Tojibaeva’s detention, which appears to be aimed at sanctioning her activities in defence of human rights, and fears for her state of health.

Background information:

On October 7, 2005, Mrs. Tojibaeva was arrested at her home 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 returned some of the money that the security forces burst in her home. On December 24, 2005, numerous other charges were filed against Mrs. Tojibaeva.

On March 6, 2006, Mrs. Tojibaeva was sentenced to a eight-year term of imprisonment by the court of Dustobod, Urta Chirchik rayon court, in Tashkent oblast, on 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 was 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 proceedings have reportedly been marred by numerous irregularities, in particular several violations of the right to a fair trial. 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 sufficient time to prepare her case with her lawyer and to become familiar with the 5,000 pages of case materials.

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;

ii. Release her immediately and unconditionally since her detention is arbitrary;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against her 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: presidents_office@press-service.uz

  • 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: office@ombudsman.gov.uz

  • 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: prokuratura@lawyer.com

  • 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: office@nchr.uz

  • 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: uzbekistan@bluewin.ch


Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in your respective countries.

***
Paris – Geneva, July 25, 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 : Appeals@fidh-omct.org
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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