Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Usbekistan: 13 People Sentenced For 10 years For Islamic Membership

Posted by Info on 19/02/2011

Thirteen people have been sentenced behind closed doors by an Uzbek regional court to between 6 and 10 years in prison for their alleged membership in an Islamic group. Several of the sentenced men are farmers. One was an imam.

The men were found guilty by the court in the southern province of Qashqadaryo of “encroachment on the constitutional order” and “dissemination of materials harmful to public safety and order.”
Uzbek prosecutors frequently bring those specific charges against Islamic dissidents.

The verdict reads: “the accused men were poisoned by the idea of an Islamic state and launched a series of crimes against the constitutional order and public security and morality.” All reportedly plead guilty to the charges.

Those jailed on such charges include popular soccer commentator Khayrulla Hamidov, who is also the author of a series of popular radio programs on being Muslim. He was sentenced last year to six years in prison.

Uzbek human rights groups say several dozen more people are awaiting trial on similar charges. At least 21 of them are from Qashqadaryo.

Local and international rights groups estimate that more than 10,000 practicing Muslims in Uzbekistan are currently serving long prison sentences, mostly on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and install a theocracy.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur said: …the definition of terrorism(extremism) is used in a selective, political or abusive way as a tool for government to stigmatise whoever they don’t like, such as minorities, trade unions, religious movements, etc.”

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