Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

New Report: Political Repression In Uzbekistan 2009-2010

Posted by Info on 18/03/2011

On March 16 2011, Human Rights Center Memorial published a comprehensive report covering political repression in Uzbekistan in the period 2009-2010. The report itself is currently available only in Russian language, the summary has been translated into English.

3. The Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, which was adopted in 1994, contains provisions that are incompatible with the freedoms set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966. In particular, any religious activity not sanctioned by the government is criminalized. Strict punishment is set out (up to 15 years imprisonment) for “extremism” and participation in “forbidden organizations”, in spite of these two terms having no basis in national legislation. This opens up for arbitrary interpretation of the terms. The definition of “terrorism” is unnecessarily wide, extending the circles of people who may be charged with this crime….

4. As in the past, the current practice in criminal cases shows that a great number of Muslims whose activities pose no threat to the social order and security are being sentenced on fabricated charges of terrorism and extremism. The use of torture in 2009-2010 continued to have a systematic character. Admissions that had been coerced from suspects under pressure often served as the main evidence of guilt. Administrative arrest of 10-15 days during arbitrary detention of suspects was practiced. During investigation and trial there were numerous procedural violations. Access to a lawyer was limited. Many political cases in 2009-2010 were considered in closed hearings, and usually only government-appointed lawyers were allowed to participate in the processes…The courts handed out long prison sentences to persons whose guilt merely consisted of unofficial studies of Islam, keeping religious materials or being associated with “forbidden” organizations and movements…

5. The main enemy of the state in 2009-2010 was announced to be “zhikhodchilar” (“Jihadists”). This term, which is used as a political label, includes members of a few terrorist groups, as well as participants in various informal Islamic associations who supposedly express “radical views”, or who keep or distribute audio and video clips of sermons of well-known religious figures who are persecuted by the authorities. … persons accused of being involved with Hizb-ut-Tahrir made up the majority of political prisoners…”.

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