Uzbekistan: Arrest and judicial harassment of human rights activist Mr. Uktam Pardaev

03/12/2015
Urgent Appeal
Credit : Creative Commons

UZB 001 / 1215 / OBS 101
Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment
Uzbekistan
December 3, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Uzbekistan.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest and judicial harassment of human rights activist Mr. Uktam Pardaev, Chairman of the Djizak regional branch of the Independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (IHRSU). Mr. Pardaev is a prominent human rights defender known for uncovering local corruption and monitoring cases of forced labour of adults and children in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields.

According to the information received, on November 16, 2015 at approximately 6:30 am, Mr. Pardaev was arrested at his home by ten police officers and a representative of the prosecutor general’s office. On that occasion, the police confiscated his computer, a camera, as well as several documents and flash drives, and also searched his brother’s house. Mr. Pardaev was subsequently held incommunicado for four days in a pre-trial facility of the Dustlik district. On November 20 and 21, 2015, Mr. Uktam Pardaev was finally able to meet his lawyer, but has not been allowed to see him since. In addition, Mr. Pardaev’s family has not been authorised to visit him since his arrest.

On November 18, 2015, Mr. Uktam Pardaev was charged with “fraud” and “bribery” under articles 168.2 and 211.2 of the Criminal Code, which both carry maximum sentences of 10 years in prison.

This is not the first time Mr. Uktam Pardaev has been facing harassment and restrictions. On October 9, 2015, Mr. Pardaev attended a hearing at the Djizak City Court, following his complaint about the Uzbek authorities refusal to grant him an exit visa. The next hearing took place on October 12, 2015 but no representative of the Immigration Office was present. The judge decided to close the case and advised Mr. Pardaev to address his complaint to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which he did on October 28, 2015.

Previously, on September 30, 2012, during the peak of the cotton harvest, Mr. Pardaev was arrested by the authorities in Djizak and beaten by several officers. He was held for over 15 days on administrative charges of “hooliganism” and “resisting arrest,” before being released.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern regarding the ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Uktam Pardaev, which seem to aim only at preventing him from carrying out his peaceful human rights activities.

The Observatory calls upon the Uzbek authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Pardaev and drop all charges against him as they are clearly aimed at hindering his human rights activities.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Uzbekistan, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Uktam Pardaev as well as all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan;

ii. Release Mr. Uktam Pardaev immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary and only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to any form of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Uktam Pardaev, and drop all charges against him;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with:
- its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- its article 6 according to which, “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: a) to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or administrative systems; b) as provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; c) to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”.
- its Article 12. 2 which states that “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.“

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.

Addresses:

· Mr. Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov President of Uzbekistan, ul. Uzbekistanskaya 43, Rezidentsia prezidenta, 700163 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 1395325. E-mail: presidents_office@press-service.uz
· Mr. Adham Akramovich Ahmedbaev, Minister of Internal Affairs; ul. Junus Rajabiy 1; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 233 89 34. Email: mvd@mvd.uz, info@mvd.uz
· Mr. Rashidjon Hamidovich Kodirov, General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, ul. Gulamova 66, 700047 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 133 39 17. E-mail: prokuratura@lawyer.com
· Mr. Abdulaziz Komilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, pl. Mustakillik, 5; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17. E-mail: rnews@mfa.uz
· Ms. Sayora Rashidova, Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, ul. Xalqlar Dostligi 1, 700035 Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fax: +998 71 139 85 55. E-mail: office@ombudsman.gov.uz
· Senator Akmal Saidov, Natsionalny Tsentr po pravam cheloveka / National Centre for Human Rights, Mustakillik Maidoni 5/3, 700029 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan Fax: + 998 71 139 13 56 / 45 16, E-mail: office@nchr.uz
· Mr. Javohir Nurmetov, Permanent Mission of Uzbekistan to the United Nations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc D (7th Floor), Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 799 43 02. Email: uzbekistan@bluewin.ch
· H.E. Mr. Vladimir NOROV, Ambassador, Embassy of Uzbekistan to Belgium, Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt 99, B-1050, Brussels, Belgium. Fax. +32 2 672 39 46 Email: embassy@uzbekistan.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uzbekistan in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, December 3, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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