Uzbekistan’s president-elect Shavkat Mirziyoyev casting a ballot at a polling station during the presidential election on December 4, 2016.

© 2016 Reuters
 
(Berlin) – Uzbek authorities should act swiftly to investigate credible reports that the country’s former prosecutor general, Rashitjon Kadirov, and his 12 co-defendants, have suffered torture and mistreatment in custody, Human Rights Watch said today in a joint statement with four other human rights groups. The authorities should prosecute anyone responsible for torture and ill-treatment of the defendants.
 
Amnesty International, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA), Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said in the statement that Uzbek authorities should prevent the use of torture under any circumstances and provide the defendants with their due process rights.
 
“This case raises serious concerns about Uzbekistan’s efforts to prevent torture and other ill-treatment in detention facilities,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The defendants should be protected from mistreatment and should receive a fair trial, open to the public, the media and human rights monitors.”
 
Kadirov was prosecutor general for 15 years and served as a judge of constitutional court under former president Islam Karimov. He was arrested in February 2018 on multiple charges under 12 articles of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, including extortion (article 165), abuse of power (article 205), and embezzlement (article 210). Kadirov and his co-defendants have been on trial since January 7, 2019. The trial is closed to observers.