Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Uzbek Survivor of Torture: Prevention ? = Video Cameras!

Posted by Info on 27/09/2010

Mr. Umarov, 54, a physicist, businessman and the leader of an Uzbek reform movement that has largely been smashed, was arrested by the Uzbek authorities in 2005 and promptly sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was granted amnesty late last year after an international campaign declared him a prisoner of conscience, and after requests to Islam A. Karimov, Uzbekistan’s president, by the United States.
BEFORE the intervention, Mr. Umarov said, he had been tortured 10 or 12 times.

…Guards beat him on the head and on the soles of his feet. He was injected with or fed drugs that rendered him inactive or sometimes catatonic. In the summer, he was kept some days in a roofless room without water, under a desert sun. One winter, as a punishment, he was locked with other prisoners in a room without heat or warm clothing. The prisoners huddled together for days to fight off hypothermia. One day, he said, he was held against a bunk by guards and one of his thumbs was bent back and dislocated. He was choked until his vocal cords were damaged…
His recommendation is simple:

Uzbekistan should install video cameras in all of its prisons. During his incarceration, Mr. Umarov was held in several different sites. Where there were cameras, he said, his guards never beat him. Sometimes they were even well mannered….There are some good ones and some bad ones, and without transparency, the bad ones take advantage of their positions. If there were video cameras in the prisons, they may be afraid to use force. They would be polite.”

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