- For defenders
- How can I help?
Uzbekistan: Detention of human rights defenders Messrs Nurali Kulabov and Abdumurod Norboev and police surveillance and intimidation of several others
On 6, 7 and 8 December 2011, several members of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) and other human rights defenders have faced repressive measures taken by security forces.
Human rights defenders Messrs Nurali Kulabov and Abdumurod Norboev were arrested on 7 December, and remain in police custody in Chirakchinsk. Meanwhile, other human rights defenders in different parts of Uzbekistan have had their homes placed under heavy police surveillance.
These measures coincide with National Constitution Day, which is celebrated on 8 December. HRSU is a long-standing critic of human rights violations committed by the Uzbek government. The organisation's members are regularly harassed, arbitrarily detained and ill treated.
On 7 December 2011, at approximately 7pm, human rights defenders Nurali Kulabov, member of HRSU, and Abdumurod Norboev, member of human rights organisation Ezgulik, were arrested in Chirakchinsk district, Kashkadar region. Details of their whereabouts were initially kept from the family members of the human rights defenders. However, it later emerged that they were being held in police custody at the Chirakchinsk district police station and they continue to be detained at this location. The human rights defenders have not been permitted to see their relatives. Reports state that the arrest was carried out after Nurali Kulabov and Abdumurod Norboev, along with three others, were invited to a discussion by the local administration about gas and electricity services in the area.
Since 6 December 2011, it is reported that several human rights defenders, many of whom are members of HRSU, have been ordered not to leave their homes. According to reports, Mr Ikrom Tursunov, First Deputy Head of the Department of Internal Affairs of Dzhizak, and officials from the Department Fighting Terrorism in the regional Department of Internal Affairs are behind these orders.
On 7 December, at 3am, Mr Ergash Soliev, the Head of Local Administration of Pakhtakor district, reportedly telephoned Mr Komil Kayumov, the local District Police Investigator and instructed him to keep watch over Ms Saida Kurbanova and prevent her from travelling to Tashkent. Both Saida Kurbanova, head of the HRSU branch in Pakhtakor district, Dzhizak region, and Mr Bahtier Hamraev, Chairperson of the HRSU Dzhizak regional branch, reported that their homes were surrounded and under constant surveillance by law enforcement agents on 6, 7 and 8 December.
On 7 December, the District Police Investigator visited Saida Kurbanova's house five times. On the same day, while Kurbanova managed to leave for Tashkent, another officer from the Department Fighting Terrorism came to her house and shouted at Saida Kurbanova's son, asking where his mother was and whether she was “alive or dead”.
On 7 December, in Karshi City, Ms Gulishan Karaeva, Chairperson of the HRSU Kashkadarinsk regional branch, and human rights defender Mr Nadyr Ahatov both reported that their houses were surrounded and surveilled all day. Both human rights defenders confirmed that this continued to be the case on 8 December.
Mr Nasir Zakirov, member of HRSU Namagansk regional branch, reported that all of the members of HRSU in the area have also had their homes placed under surveillance. In Andizhan and Bukhara a similar situation prevails.
Front Line believes that the detention of Nurali Kulabov and Abdumurod Norboev and the restrictions on the free movement and other forms of intimidation against other human rights defenders across the country are directly linked to their legitimate human rights work. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity and security of Nurali Kulabov and Abdumurod Norboev, considering that they have not been permitted to see any of their family members.