Arrests, pressures, threats as well as home surveillance and confinement against several human rights defenders- UZB 003 / 0509 / OBS 075

Urgent Appeal

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory was informed by reliable sources about arrests, pressures, threats as well as home surveillance and confinement against several human rights defenders in Uzbekistan for commemorating the anniversary of the 2005 Andijan events (when Government troops fired live ammunition at a peaceful demonstration in which thousands of citizens were taking part).

According to the information received, a number of human rights defenders in Uzbekistan had announced their intention mark the anniversary of the start of the Andijan events on May 13, 2009, by bringing flowers to the "Zhasorat" ("bravery") monument in the centre of Tashkent in remembrance of the innocent people who were killed four years ago.

However, on the day before, on May 12, 2009, Mr. Bakhadyr Namazov, President of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee, was followed as he went to visit Mr. Oleg Sarapulov, Manager of the Press-Centre of the Alliance of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan, at his home, where they received the visit of a local police inspector and a representative of the anti-terrorist division. The police inspector took the passport details of Mr. Namazov, while the official of the anti-terrorist division warned him several times not to go to the centre of Tashkent the next day to mark the anniversary of the Andijan events. Both defenders were followed by cars when they left the home of Mr. Sarapulov.

Furthermore, Ms. Victoria Bajenova, member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, and Ms. Lyudmila Kutepova were virtually placed under house arrest, with several cars keeping watch on their homes. Ms. Tatyana Dovlatova, member of the Committee for the Freedom of the Prisoners of Conscience, received a phone call warning her not to leave her home, and a dark grey Lada vehicle has been keeping watch of her home.

From early morning on May 12, several other cars kept watch on the home of Ms. Elena Urlaeva, member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan. In the evening, Mr. Surat Ikramov, Head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Advocates of Uzbekistan, received a warning from the anti-terrorist division on his mobile phone not to lay flowers at the "Zhasorat" monument the next day.

On May 13, 2009, at 7 am, Mr. Ikramov found that his home had been surrounded by seven members of the police. Mr. Ikramov left his home by car at 9.30 and went to buy flowers. He was about to reach the monument when a grey "Neksia" car cut his way. Mr. S. Yusuppov of the Tashkent anti-terrorist division got out of the car and explained that the new Head of "the Centre for the fight against terrorism" of the Ministry of the Interior had ordered not to let anyone approach the "Zhasorat" monument on May 13. Mr. Ikramov was brought to Sabir Rakhimovsky police station in Tashkent where he was held from 10 am to 3.30 pm. He was released but told not to leave his home, that was kept under the surveillance of 4 policemen in civilian clothes. At around 10 am, both Ms. Elena Urlaeva and Ms. Salomat Baymatova, member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, were arrested. Ms. Urlaeva was brought to the Khamzinky police station, and Ms. Baymatova to an unknown place. Mr. Oleg Sarapulov and Ms. Tatyana Dovlatova were arrested in the morning as they left home and brought to Yakkasaraysky police station.

In the morning of May 13, Mr. Bakhadyr Namazov was treatened with arrest in case he would leave his house by two persons keeping watch on him in a car.

The Observatory is deeply concerned about all these arrests and acts of harassment in a context in which human rights defenders are repeatedly targeted and threatened by the Uzbek authorities.

As a participating State of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Observatory recalls that Uzbekistan recognises "the need for particular attention, support and protection for human rights defenders by the OSCE, its Institutions and field operations, as well as by participating States"[1].

The Observatory further urges the European Commission Delegation as well as European Union (EU) Member-States embassies in the Uzbekistan to call upon the Uzbek authorities to comply with the relevant international norms and standards, in particular the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and take action on the above-mentioned elements, in line with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.

Action requested:

Please write to the Uzbek authorities and ask them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Bakhadyr Namazov, Mr. Oleg Sarapulov, Ms. Victoria Bajenova, Ms. Lyudmila Kutepova Ms. Tatyana Dovlatova, Ms. Elena Urlaeva, Mr. Surat Ikramov and Ms. Salomat Baymatova, as well as of all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan;

ii. Put an end to any act of harassment - including at the judicial level - against the eight above-mentioned defenders as well as against all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan;

iii. Comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", as well as Article 12.2, which provides that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or 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";

iv. Comply with the provisions of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the 2nd Conference on the Human Dimension of the Cooperation and Security Conference in Europe (CSCE) (1990), and guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by Uzbekistan.


· Mr. Bahodir Matliubov, Minister of Internal Affairs, Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del RU; ul. Junus Rajabiy 1; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 233 89 34; Email:,,

· Mr. Alisher Sharafutdinov, Deputy Prosecutor General, Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan; ul. Gulyamova 66; Tashkent 700047, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 233 39 17/ 133 73 68; Email:

· Mr. Vladimir Norov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministerstvo inostrannykh del RU; pl. Mustakillik, 5; Tashkent 700029, Uzbekistan. Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17

· Head of the Nukus City Department of Internal Affairs (police), Glave GOVD, Gorodskoi Otdel Vnutrennikh Del, ul. Biruni, g. Nukus, AR Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.

· H.E Ms. Goulnora Karimova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Uzbekistan to the United Nations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc G (7th Floor), Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 799 43 02. Email:

· H.E. Ms. Goulnora Karimova, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc G (7th Floor), Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 799 43 02. Email:

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


Paris - Geneva, May 14, 2009

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the code number 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.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 (0) 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 (0) 22 809 49 29


[1] See OP 6 & OP 8 of the Resolution on Strengthening OSCE Engagement with Human Rights Defenders and National Human Rights Institutions, adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on July 10, 2007.

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