The government of Uzbekistan did not provide for redress for independent Muslims who were subjected to discriminatory arrest and conviction. High courts rarely remedied unjust verdicts against individuals on appeal. They did not conduct any systematic review of cases of independent Muslims to determine the legitimacy of the trend of convictions on religious grounds. Release by presidential amnesty decree proved an arbitrary, and even illusory, means of redress. Government agencies, including those tasked with championing citizen rights and helping victims of government abuse to obtain redress, displayed marked indifference or open hostility.
Citizens who pursued justice or relief outside of the framework of domestic law and government were hindered and often punished. When victims and their families appealed to relevant U.N. bodies competent to investigate cases after domestic remedies were exhausted, the government appeared to ignore the U.N. bodies’ communications. In at least two cases, the authorities harassed those who appealed to U.N. agencies. Victims of the government’s campaign who appealed to local or international rights groups were also harassed and threatened by law enforcement authorities.
Police thwarted efforts by relatives of convicted independent Muslims to organize and protest the government campaign. Demonstrations and other acts of peaceful public assembly were forcibly dispersed and participants were beaten, detained, arrested, and subjected to ongoing intrusive and intimidating surveillance. The complaints and requests of people at such gatherings were almost uniformly ignored by government officials to whom the public appeals were addressed.
Because in practice the judiciary has no independence in Uzbekistan, the courts have provided little justice in the first instance or redress on appeal for independent Muslim defendants. Other possible avenues of redress, such as the office of the Ombudsperson, under parliamentary authority, and the influential entities of the official Muslim clergy, have also proven unresponsive, even outright hostile, to entreaties from victims’ families. Recourse to intergovernmental organizations and nongovernmental rights groups also proved a dangerous business, as it brought retaliation from government authorities.
Another avenue of possible redress is the potential intervention of government offices—the presidency, the procuracy, and the Ombudsperson’s office.1072 Families of detainees approached these agencies with a variety of issues, ranging from claims of illegal arrest to request for an ill detainee’s transfer to a prison hospital. But efforts to engage these officials have been generally ineffective and even counterproductive, frequently resulting in a curt denial or dismissive reply that the complainant’s appeal has been passed on to another agency. Victims and their families have been particularly distraught after their appeals to the Ombudsperson’s office—the agency charged with liaising between victims and government and with facilitating redress for rights abuses—were not acted upon. In fact, complaints to the Ombudsperson were often merely forwarded to the police investigator or prosecutor responsible for the case, often the very subject of the prisoner or relative’s complaint.
Following a September 2000 presidential amnesty decree, Abdurashid Isakhojaev’s father went to the procuracy to once again see what could be done for his son. The elder Isakhojaev recalled that the procurator told him: “‘If he [Abdurashid] killed somebody, maybe I could help, but not for this crime.’”1078
Juraev’s parents appealed to a host of other government agencies, including the Ombudsperson’s office, the Supreme Court, and the office of President Karimov seeking review of their son’s case. In particular, they complained that even if their son were a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, evidence should not have been planted to incriminate him, and they asked again that these fabricated charges be removed.1081 The Juraevs report that their appeals to Ombudsperson Sayora Rashidova and President Karimov complaining of an unfair Supreme Court trial and asking for assistance in compelling the Supreme Court to review the case were not examined in earnest, but simply forwarded to the Supreme Court, which responded that the case had been proven and that the family’s request was denied.1082
Many relatives, desperate for sympathy and assistance, have continued to appeal to the Ombudsperson’s office. For others, the prospect for useful intervention by the Ombudsperson’s office to improve treatment of prisoners in Uzbekistan’s post-conviction facilities was irremediably undermined by Ombudsperson Rashidova’s own report of her visit to the most infamous facility, Jaslyk. After returning from an “inspection” of that prison in March 2000, she said in an interview in a state newspaper, “…conditions created for prisoners, and that the [corps] of guards are observing the law in their duties, made us happy.”1083 Regarding prisoners in Jaslyk, she added, “…I can say that the supply of food and clothes for them is in good condition. What else can a person need who was found guilty by law, and who had admitted to [crimes with which he was charged]? Is the fact that such conditions have been created for prisoners not enough to state that human rights in Uzbekistan are being observed at every step?”1084 Rashidova also reported that prisoners with whom she spoke at the prison had expressed their satisfaction with medical services, the quality of the food, and treatment by guards.1085 By way of recommendation for improvements Rashidova had this to say: “Of course, we were also introduced closely to the conditions created for the guards. I can only say that we should thank them and create better conditions for their [corps].”1086
Appealing to the Islamic establishment, an integral player in the government campaign, endangered independent Muslims, making them vulnerable to increased surveillance and even arrest by police. In one extreme case, a young man who appealed to Mufti Abdurashid Kori Bakhromov, head of the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan and leader of the official Islamic establishment, in June 1999 was turned over to police by that same clergyman.1087 The young man, Usmon Inagamov, allegedly one of Farhod Usmanov’s religious students and a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, had been upset by Usmanov’s death in pre-trial detention. He reacted by appealing to the mufti to speak out, arguing that silence made the official clergy complicit in Usmanov’s death and in the arrests of thousands of others. Beaten in detention, Inagamov was brought up on charges of anti-state activity and sentenced in a closed court to two and a half years in prison. Already ill with cancer, he died in prison nine months later, presumably from untreated illness aggravated by denial of medical care and harsh prison conditions.1088
Police and national security agents retaliated against victims of abuse and their relatives when they complained to local or international human rights defenders.
Andijan police, led by officer Ortikali Rakhmatov, head of the Criminal Investigations Department, returned to the Sattarov home on March 20, 2001. This time, they confiscated the Human Rights Watch World Report 2000 chapter on Uzbekistan.1099 When local rights activist Muzafarmirzo Iskhakov appealed in person to officer Rakhmatov to return the document, explaining that Human Rights Watch was a registered organization in Uzbekistan and that its report was neither secret nor subversive, police refused to return the document and threw Iskhakov out of the office.1100
Presidential amnesty decrees, orders for the release of certain categories of prisoners, are common in Uzbekistan and other countries of the former Soviet Union, primarily to relieve prison overcrowding.1106 While release under amnesty does not provide redress to independent Muslims for the abuses they were subjected to, it does provide relief from the extraordinary hardship of prison. But only limited groups of independent Muslims have qualified for amnesty. In some cases, the amnesty process itself triggered a new round of abuse of religious prisoners. In other cases, those amnestied were rearrested or persistently harassed.1107 Until 2001 presidential amnesties did not apply to those charged with sedition and other articles of the criminal code used to prosecute independent Muslims. The August 2001 amnesty applied to this category of prisoner, but only to those who had been sentenced to six years or less, thus exempting the majority of independent Muslim prisoners, who typically received longer terms.1108 For example, of the 709 religious prisoners in Human Rights Watch’s database who had been arrested or tried as of August 2001, only seventy-one had been sentenced to six years or less. The 2002 amnesty provided for the release of “Those convicted and sentenced for the first time to prison terms of up to ten years inclusive or who were given penalties other than imprisonment for involvement in the activities of extremist organizations and committing, as a member of these, a crime against the constitution[al] order of the Republic of Uzbekistan or other activities against public security.”1109
The amnesty creates a revolving door for prisoners, some are released so others can be jailed—and the door swings full circle when those released are rearrested and imprisoned again. The U.S. State Department reported in 2003 that overcrowding was a problem in Uzbekistan’s prisons, and noted that, “The overcrowding may have been one of the reasons for the large-scale amnesty in 2001, but the problem remained severe.”1110 Given the pace of ongoing arrests of independent Muslims at least, it is perhaps not surprising that amnesties are an inefficient means of addressing the problem of overcrowded prisons, as well as being a poor substitute for justice and redress.
Prison authorities, whose record of abuse is detailed above, have broad powers to determine who will be amnestied. Persons found to have “systematically” violated internal prison rules—i.e. those with three or more infractions on their record—were ineligible for release under amnesty decrees.1111 Prison authorities arbitrarily charged religious inmates with prison infractions, making them ineligible for amnesty. They did so either by fabricating violations or taking punitive action against legitimate activity such as prayer and counting that as a “demerit.”
The 2001 and 2002 amnesty decrees include clauses that require, as a condition for release, that religious prisoners declare their “repentance” for crimes committed, and ask the state’s forgiveness. Under both decrees, prison administrators are authorized to verify the “sincerity” of the declaration of contrition and give their opinion as to a given prisoner’s active repentance.1112 This is one way in which the amnesty process itself brings on further persecution. In addition, while not required by the decree, in practice independent Muslim prisoners also must disavow their religious beliefs or affiliations to qualify for release. Refusal resulted not only in foregoing the opportunity to be released, but also, as noted above, in beatings, solitary confinement, or other forms of retaliation.1113 For example, one convicted Hizb ut-Tahrir member who had been serving a six-year term in Novoi prison, number 64/29, told Human Rights Watch that prison officials there forced him to sign a letter that went significantly beyond a plea for forgiveness. In order to qualify for the 2001 amnesty, he said, he was compelled to sign a statement of apology that also included a vow that he would not be involved in any religious movements in the future and would loyally serve President Karimov and the state.1114
Prison authorities often demanded a letter from the mahalla committee of a prisoner’s previous neighborhood or district, promising to take responsibility for the prisoner, vouching for his or her future good behavior. In one typical letter provided to Human Rights Watch, the mahalla committee agreed to “take responsibility for [the prisoner's] rehabilitation in the future.”1115 In other letters, the mahalla committees’ obligation was more explicit, as they stated that the committee would act as a “guardian” to the prisoner upon release, or would keep “him under observation.”1116 While not required by the amnesty decrees, the mahalla letter, in some cases, proved a significant stumbling block to qualifying for amnesty. Relatives of a prisoner who potentially qualified for amnesty were instructed by prison officials, police, or local authorities to obtain such a letter, signed by the head of the mahalla committee and other committee members. Perhaps because of the responsibility that was understood to accompany a guarantee to keep released prisoners under close observation and control, and the fear that were a former prisoner to violate the law again the members of the mahalla committee would face censure from more senior government authorities, the mahalla committees were sometimes reluctant to provide the letters. During the first months of 2003—the implementation period for the 2002 amnesty, which was passed in December 2002—Human Rights Watch learned of several instances in which mahalla committees refused to sign letters of support, thereby effectively blocking the possibility of releasing prisoners.1117 In these cases, even when the family provided their own letters of guarantee, prison authorities rejected the claim for amnesty and refused to release the prisoners.1118
Another informal requirement for release under amnesty was payment of a sizeable bribe. According to local rights defenders, prison officials extorted sizeable bribes from prisoners and their families in exchange for freedom.1119
Sometimes because they had paid large bribes and sometimes because they feared retaliation from law enforcement, many amnestied prisoners were reluctant to talk to rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, about their experiences. They were particularly hesitant to discuss the conditions of their release. However, specific cases brought to the attention of rights defenders were believed to be representative of a wider trend of official treatment of amnestied persons. The vulnerability of amnestied prisoners to ongoing harassment by law enforcement officials is sharply illustrated by the case of Idobat Sultanova, a forty-year-old mother of six living in the Fergana Valley at the time of her arrest. Sultanova was detained in June 2000 for membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir and convicted in September to six years in prison on related charges. She appealed the Margilan District Court’s decision and succeeded in getting her term reduced to a three-year suspended sentence. And so, after serving three months of her original term, was released.1120 When the 2001 amnesty was declared, she was cleared of the suspended sentence as well. However, she remained a focus of attention for Margilan law enforcement agents. She reported that they detained her for several hours and insulted her soon after the amnesty went into effect, and that they constantly harassed her, questioning her frequently about where she was going and with whom she met.1121 Sultanova told Human Rights Watch that police regularly compelled her to sign statements promising to stay at home and not participate in any protests.1122 She further reported to Human Rights Watch that, on March 5, 2002, officers, this time from the SNB, again detained her and held her for ten hours without charge.1123 Finally, in July, the SNB pulled out its trump card. On July 12, 2002, officers from the Fergana province department of the SNB arrested Sultanova again and took her into custody, on charges of leadership of a Hizb ut-Tahrir women’s group in Margilan.1124 She was tried in the Margilan City Court and sentenced on September 13, 2002 to seven years in prison.1125 As of this writing, Sultanova was back in the women’s prison facility in Kulyuk, located on the outskirts of Tashkent.
Other independent Muslims shared a similar fate—they were amnestied, then rearrested on the same kinds of charges for which they were originally incarcerated, and then were sent back to jail. This was what happened to Merziot Usmanov, who was sentenced in 1999 to three years in prison on charges of subverting the constitution. He was released under amnesty in December 2001 and was rearrested just months later, in April 2002. At his new trial in July 2002, the Shaikhantaur District Court in Tashkent found him guilty of “extremism” and sentenced him to eight years in prison.1126
Unable to obtain redress through recourse to domestic remedies or international organizations, some citizens in desperation turned to public protest as a means of voicing their dissatisfaction with government policies. They attempted to influence those in power to release those unjustly imprisoned. However, the Uzbek government does not allow public protests that express dissent and vigorously punished those who organized and participated in them. Police and security agents also sought to pre-empt such protests “both by refusing to allow potential demonstrators to leave their homes and by blocking access to planned demonstration sites.”1127 Police routinely broke up demonstrations—usually consisting of no more than about fifty people—against the arrest and torture of independent Muslims, and sometimes beat and detained protestors.1128 In at least one case documented by Human Rights Watch, police physically abused and threatened the wife of a prisoner because they believed she was advocating for his release.
Some examples of the incidents known to Human Rights Watch include the funeral of a young man evidently tortured to death in custody, and several protests held during the period 1998 to 2003 by female relatives of religious prisoners.
Authorities who delivered Usmanov’s body to his family for burial ordered relatives not to disclose his death or to show anyone the body, and plainclothes officers were posted outside the family home during the night of June 25.1130 Police set up roadblocks during the night to block access to the neighborhood and surrounded the area with armed officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Security Service. Nonetheless, at least hundreds, and by some accounts thousands, of mourners gathered early the following day to attend the funeral.1131 Police arrested dozens of them at the scene.1132 One female relative who attempted to attend Usmanov’s funeral recalled, “I went to Farhod’s funeral and was arrested on the way, along with thirty or forty others. All of them were men, except for me and one other woman, who was ill, so they fined her 6,000 som and released her. An elderly man was arrested also and taken along with me to the local ROVD [district police station] and held one night and then released with a 6,000 som fine. My husband and I were held for ten days and not fined. We were held in the ROVD.”1133 She described the effect the arrest had on her, “Before that, I was never interested in Hizb ut-Tahrir. After the detention, I read the Hizb ut-Tahrir book, and it made sense to me. There was nothing in it about extremism, just about...living the right way.”1134 Police held other mourners under misdemeanor detention for ten to thirty days. Authorities reportedly made it a condition of their release that they not discuss their detention or make any claims of physical mistreatment in custody.1135
Representatives of an international organization, who arrived on the scene as the women were being dispersed, reported that plainclothes officers presumed to be from the National Security Service followed several of the women as they descended into a nearby metro station. A Human Rights Watch representative noted that officials also approached participants, asking for and writing down their names. The police also succeeded in videotaping all of those gathered, widely perceived as an act of intimidation, since the National Security Service had videotaped past public demonstrations and subsequently arrested participants.
Four women were detained beyond the day of the protest. Police reportedly held the sister-in-law of convicted Hizb ut-Tahrir member Shoknoza Musaeva and another young woman, Manzura Oripova, for three days at a local police station.1151 Sources close to Oripova told rights defender Mahbuba Kosymova that Oripova was forced into a police car by officers who twisted her arms behind her back and taunted her, saying, “What a nice girl we’ve got,” and that officers beat her at the local police station.1152 Police held a young woman named Shaira in custody for one day for her part in the demonstration and held another protestor, whose name was not available at the time of this writing, for an unknown period of detention.1153
In what appeared to be an act of intimidation organized by security agents, twenty men in plainclothes violently assaulted two journalists who had come to report on the protest.1157 Uniformed officers nearby refused to come to the journalists’ aid.1158 The reporters’ recording equipment, including interviews with the female protestors, was stolen during the attack.
1072 The office of the Ombudsperson is tasked with receiving individual citizen’s complaints regarding violations of rights and assisting citizens to obtain remedy for injustices. Rather than conducting investigations itself, the office has a primarily advisory role. It sends communications regarding citizen complaints to the agency responsible for the alleged abuse—be it the procuracy, courts, or Ministry of Internal Affairs—makes recommendations to that agency, and awaits a response.
1073 Letter to S. A. Ergasheva, from A.M. Salikhov, office of the Procurator General, Tashkent, document number 2/498-99, February 7, 2000.
1074 Written statement to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, U.N. Commission on Human Rights and various human rights organizations, from Sharifa Isakhojaeva, January 30, 2000.
1075 Letter from Ombudsperson Sayora Rashidova to General Procurator Khudaikulov, November 4, 1999, document number 07-05/1776k, on file with Human Rights Watch.
1076 Written statement by Sharifa Isakhojaeva, February 20, 2000. In fact, the prison hospital at Jaslyk is known to be poorly equipped. Prisoners at Jaslyk are reportedly denied access to nearly any medical attention. Jaslyk prison authorities did not allow the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture access to the entire Jaslyk prison during his visit, and so the Special Rapporteur was unable to assess the state of medical facilities there. Report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Theo van Boven, p. 31.
1077 Letter to Sharifa Isakhojaeva from R. Sarikov, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Main Administration for the Execution of Punishments [GUIN], document number 28/2/4-i-95, December 29, 1999.
1078 Douglas Frantz, “Persecution Charged in Ex-Soviet Republic,” The New York Times, October 29, 2000. For more on the limitations of the amnesty process, see below, in this chapter.
1079 Human Rights Watch unofficial transcript, Tashkent City Court hearing held in the Akmal Ikramov District Court building, Tashkent, November 1, 2000.
1080 Letter from A.M. Solikhov, office of the Procurator General, Tashkent, to Rahim Juraev, January 29, 2000, document number 12/1048-99, on file with Human Rights Watch.
1081 Letter from Rahim Juraev to President Karimov, December 18, 1999; and Human Rights Watch interview with persons close to the case, names withheld, Tashkent, February 10, 2000.
1082 Letter from Rahim Juraev and Umida Juraeva to Sayora Rashidova, October 18, 1999; letter from Rahim Juraev to President Karimov, December 18, 1999; and letter from Judge S.O. Khojamuratov of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to Rakhim Juraev, October 21, 1999, document number 6-2681-99.
1083 Ombudsperson Sayora Rashidova, as quoted in “Protecting Human Rights is our Sacred Duty,” Postda [At One’s Post] newspaper, March 30, 2000. Postda is published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
1087 Written report by Vasila Inoiatova, April 2000; Human Rights Watch interview with Vasila Inoiatova, Tashkent, April 5, 2000; and Human Rights Watch interview with Vasila Inoiatova, Tashkent, December 12, 2000.
1088 The location of the court hearing is unclear. Sources alternately place the process at the Chirchik City Court in Tashkent Province or the Syrdaria Province Court. Memorial Human Rights Center and the Information Center for Human Rights In Central Asia, List of People Arrested and Tried in Uzbekistan for Political and Religious Reasons (January 1999 to April 2000), Moscow, May 2000; and Hizb ut-Tahrir, March 24, 2000. Inagamov’s case is described in Chapter IV.
1089 Human Rights Watch interview with persons close to Shukhrat Parpiev, names withheld, Andijan, May 18, 2000.
1090 Human Rights Watch interview with Feruza Kurbanova, Tashkent, March 14, 2001
1092 Human Rights Watch interview with rights defender Muzafarmirzo Iskhakov, Tashkent, July 7, 2000.
1095 Human Rights Watch interview with relatives of Tavakkaljon Akhmedov, Asaka, Andijan, May 2000.
1096 Human Rights Watch interview with father, mother, and sister of Komoliddin Sattarov and with rights defender Muzafarmirzo Iskhakov, Andijan, May 17, 2000.
1097 Verdict of the Andijan City Court, issued by Judge M. Kholmatov, June 9, 2000
1098 Human Rights Watch unofficial transcript, Markhamat District Court, Andijan Province, October 18, 2000; Memorial Human Rights Center and the Information Center for Human Rights In Central Asia, List of People Arrested and Tried in Uzbekistan for Political and Religious Reasons (December 1997 to August 2001), Moscow, October 2001.
1099 Human Rights Watch interview with rights defender Muzafarmirzo Iskhakov, Tashkent, April 4, 2001.
1101 Letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan from Odina Maksudova, March 29, 2001, provided in English.
1104 As noted above, in “Family Members: Arrests, House Arrest, Harassment” in Chapter III, the officer Maksudova identified, Edik Tsoi, has been identified by others as involved in the torture of detainees at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and is the subject of numerous complaints by victims of torture. According to rights defender Vasila Inoiatova, the officer was fired along with a large number of other officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department against Corruption, Racketeering and Terrorism in a “purge” of that division in 2002. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Vasila Inoiatova, March 4, 2003.
1105 Letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan from Odina Maksudova, March 29, 2001, provided in English. Human Rights Watch informed the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights about the incident on April 2, 2001.
1106 In Uzbekistan, amnesties are usually issued on national holidays; while as many as two or even three amnesties may be decreed during a given year, a single amnesty, announced on or around independence day in September, is perhaps most common.
1107 Decisions to amnesty a prisoner do not involve review of the grounds for his or her conviction. Because there is no case review that accompanies the amnesty process, law enforcement, procuracy, judicial, and prison officials who committed illegal acts and violated a prisoner’s basic rights are not held accountable for their actions. The police records of convicts released under amnesty are not expunged and police harassment often haunts those released under such provisions.
1108 The amnesty refers to such prisoners as “members of terrorist and extremist organizations, criminal associations…those who have committed crimes against the Constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan or other acts against public security covered by articles 150-163, 242, 244, 244-1, 244-2 of the Criminal Code.” Presidential amnesty decree issued on the tenth anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, broadcast on Uzbek Television first channel, August 22, 2001, English translation in BBC Monitoring.
1109 Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on “Amnesty on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan,” December 3, 2002, English translation provided to Human Rights Watch by the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United States.
1110 U.S. Department of State, 2002 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 31, 2003.
1111 For example, clause 8 of the 2001 amnesty states, “This decree is not applicable to those convicts who systematically violate the prison rules.” Presidential amnesty decree issued on the tenth anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, broadcast on Uzbek Television first channel, August 22, 2001, English translation in BBC Monitoring.
1112 Clause 10, Presidential amnesty decree issued on the tenth anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, broadcast on Uzbek Television first channel, August 22, 2001, English translation in BBC Monitoring; and clause 8, Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on “Amnesty on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan,” December 3, 2002, English translation provided to Human Rights Watch by the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United States.
1113 See Chapter IV. Human Rights Watch research found that some of those who refused to ask for forgiveness and to recant their religious beliefs were punished by prison guards who placed them in pits, kept them naked in freezing conditions, and deprived them of sleep. “Memorandum on Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Certification for Uzbekistan,” Human Rights Watch, January 18, 2002.
1114 Human Rights Watch interview with a released prisoner, name withheld, Margilan, July 12, 2002.
1115 Letter from a mahalla committee (location withheld) to “G.G.” (recipient’s name withheld, not the person’s true initials), January 4, 2003. Human Rights Watch unofficial translation. The letter is on file with Human Rights Watch.
1116 Letters from mahalla committees (locations withheld) to “H.H.,” “I.I.,” and “J.J.,” (recipients’ names withheld, not their true initials), dated January 21, 2003, January 26, 2003, January 27, 2003. Human Rights Watch unofficial translations. The letters are on file with Human Rights Watch.
1117 Human Rights Watch interview with the mother of a religious prisoner, name withheld, Tashkent, January 30, 2003; and Human Rights Watch interview with “K.K.” (name withheld, not the person’s true initials), Tashkent, January 27, 2003.
1118 Human Rights Watch interview with a friend of a religious prisoner, name withheld, place withheld, January 27, 2003; Human Rights Watch interviews with the father of another religious prisoner, name withheld, place withheld, January 27, 2003, and January 30, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with the mother of yet another religious prisoner, name withheld, place withheld, January 30, 2003; and Human Rights Watch interview with a human rights activist, name withheld, place withheld, February 5, 2003.
1119 Human Rights Watch interview with a local rights defender, name withheld, Tashkent, July 1, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with a second rights defender, name withheld, Tashkent, July 2, 2003; and Human Rights Watch interview with a third rights defender, name withheld, Tashkent, July 3, 2003.
1120 Human Rights Watch interview with Idobat Sultanova, Margilan, July 12, 2002. Sultanova was presumably released around December 2000.
1121 Ibid; and letter of April 17, 2002, on file with Human Rights Watch.
1122 Human Rights Watch interview with Idobat Sultanova, Margilan, July 12, 2002.
1124 Human Rights Watch interview with Farkhod Kodirov, a local National Security Service investigator, Fergana city, July 30, 2002.
1125 Human Rights Watch unofficial transcript, Margilan City Court, Margilan, September 12, 2002; and Human Rights Watch telephone interview with a human rights activist, name withheld, September 13, 2002.
1126 Human Rights Watch interview with rights defender Ismail Adylov, Tashkent, August 5, 2003.
1127 U.S. Department of State, 2002 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 31, 2003.
1128 Freedom of assembly is guaranteed under Uzbekistan’s constitution; however, citizens must obtain a permit in order to hold public demonstrations. According to the U.S. State Department, “in practice the Government restricted the right of peaceful assembly… and did not routinely grant permits to demonstrators.” U.S. Department of State, 2002 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 31, 2003. Many people planning public gatherings in support of independent Muslims perceived their chances of obtaining government permission to be slim at best, and so did not apply. Some family members of independent Muslim prisoners had first-hand experience of the state’s harsh reaction against association by independent Muslims and reason to expect a large public assembly would be greeted with similar hostility. Moreover, the secrecy that often surrounded the preparations for such protests suggests that the organizers perceived themselves as being at risk of government retaliation, and feared that, if they drew attention to themselves prior to the event, it would be blocked.
1129 For details on his case, see Chapter IV.
1130 Human Rights Watch interview, name withheld, Tashkent, June 25, 1999.
1131 Human Rights Watch interview, name withheld, Tashkent, July 12, 1999; Human Rights Watch interview, Vasila Inoiatova, Tashkent, July 21, 1999; and Human Rights Watch interview, name withheld, Tashkent, February 21, 2000.
1133 Human Rights Watch interview, name withheld, Tashkent, February 21, 2000.
1135 Human Rights Watch interview with Vasila Inoiatova, July 21, 1999; Human Rights Watch interview with a woman whose two nephews were detained for seventeen days for attending the funeral, name withheld, Tashkent, July 12, 1999.
1136 Human Rights Watch interview with an eyewitness, a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001; Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Catherine Davis, BBC correspondent, Tashkent, March 23, 2001; and Bakhodir Musaev, “Uzbeks Losing Patience: Uzbeks take to the streets to air anti-government grievances,” The Institute for War and Peace reporting, April 10, 2001 [online] http://www.iwpr.net/index.pl?archive/rca/rca_200104_47_02_eng.txt (retrieved June 5, 2003).
1137 Human Rights Watch interview with an eyewitness, a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001; and Bakhodir Musaev, “Uzbeks Losing Patience: Uzbeks take to the streets to air anti-government grievances,” The Institute for War and Peace reporting, April 10, 2001.
1138 Human Rights Watch interview with an eyewitness, a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001.
1139 Human Rights Watch interview with an eyewitness, a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001; and Bakhodir Musaev, “Uzbeks Losing Patience: Uzbeks take to the streets to air anti-government grievances,” The Institute for War and Peace reporting, April 10, 2001.
1140 Human Rights Watch interview with a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001. The head of the provincial court was allegedly removed from his post just days later, on March 26, 2001.
1141 Ibid. Human Rights Watch has no information confirming Umida’s release. Because the vast majority of arrested demonstrators are subsequently released, we assume she was as well.
1142 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Catherine Davis, BBC correspondent, Tashkent, March 23, 2001.
1143 Human Rights Watch interview with a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001.
1144 Ibid; and Bakhodir Musaev, “Uzbeks Losing Patience: Uzbeks take to the streets to air anti-government grievances,” The Institute for War and Peace reporting, April 10, 2001.
1146 Human Rights Watch interview with a rights activist from Andijan, name withheld, Tashkent, April 20, 2001.
1147 Bakhodir Musaev, “Uzbeks Losing Patience: Uzbeks take to the streets to air anti-government grievances,” The Institute for War and Peace reporting, April 10, 2001.
1148 Human Rights Watch interview with Mahbuba Kosymova, Tashkent, April 26, 2001.
1149 Human Rights Watch interview with rights defender Mahbuba Kosymova, Tashkent, April 26, 2001; and Human Rights Watch interview with a diplomat, name withheld, Tashkent, April 2001.
1150 Human Rights Watch interview with a diplomat, name withheld, Tashkent, April 2001.
1151 Human Rights Watch interview with Mahbuba Kosymova, Tashkent, April 26, 2001.
1154 Human Rights Watch interview with a female protester released from detention, name withheld, Tashkent, July 23, 2002; and Human Rights Watch interview with a local rights defender, Tashkent, July 25, 2002.
1155 Human Rights Watch interview with an observer at the scene, name withheld at his request, Tashkent, March 7, 2003.
1156 As of this writing, there was no further information regarding the fate of the women.
1157 Human Rights Watch interview, name withheld, Tashkent, March 7, 2003.
1159 As of this writing, Human Rights Watch had no information regarding the terms of their detention.
1160 Solaeva told Human Rights Watch that she had traveled to Tashkent on May 27 to speak to officials at the Main Administration for the Execution of Punishments to ask for permission to visit her husband, a prisoner at Jaslyk. When she left that office, she said, officers from the Hamza district police station mistakenly detained her as one of a group of women who were protesting. She told them she was not part of the protest and was released. Officer Mansurov later told Solaeva he had received a telegram from Tashkent saying that she had participated in the protest. Human Rights Watch interview with Nodira Solaeva, Tashkent, July 18, 2003.
1163 This was presumably a reference to Minister of Internal Affairs Zokirjon Almatov.