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Uzbekistan: Arrest of human rights defender Gulshan Karaeva
On 27 September 2012, human rights defender Ms Gulshan Karaeva was arrested in her home in Qarshi and taken to a local police station where she was informed of charges brought against her.
Gulshan Karaeva is Chairperson of the Kashkadarya regional branch of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU). She was released on the same day after four hours' detention at the police station.
Gulshan Karaeva was told at the police station that she had been charged under two articles of the Criminal Code: article 139, "Slander", and article 140, "Insult". These charges are based on allegations by two women who Gulshan Karaeva suspects of working for the National Security Service (SNB). These two women attacked members of the human rights defender's family on 19 July 2012, and later have accused Gulshan Karaeva of calling them prostitutes, although the human rights defender denies ever having made such statements. Gulshan Karaeva was detained for four hours at the police station, after which she was released.
Gulshan Karaeva has previously been the subject of threats and intimidation. On 19 May 2012, two women attacked the human rights defender in a local shop, beating her on the head. The attackers attempted to take her outside of the shop but she managed to seek help and the two women were removed from the shop. That same day, unknown persons sprayed the gate and walls of the human rights defender's home and that of her neighbour, with explicit and abusive graffiti. These incidents are believed to be related to Gulshan Karaeva's public statement issued on 5 May 2012, in which she declared that she had refused a proposal of cooperation put to her by the SNB.
On 7 July 2011, Gulshan Karaeva's dog was poisoned. In addition to this, she received threatening phone calls from unknown individuals. The following day, she was attacked by Mr Arif Pardayev, a resident of Kashkadarya region, who was travelling in the same taxi as the human rights defender from Tashkent to Qarshi.
In light of the previous threats, physical attacks and intimidation directed at Gulshan Karaeva, Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern for her security, and her physical and psychological integrity as well as that of her children, one of whom is disabled. Front Line Defenders views these charges as part of an ongoing campaign of threats and intimidation against Gulshan Karaeva, as a result of her legitimate and peaceful human rights work in Uzbekistan.