— according to the spokesman of the
International Committee of the Red Cross David-Pierre Marquet
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) received a press releases from the Uzbek human rights group, who recently visited political prisoners: Murad Djuraev, Agzam Turgunov, Salijon Abdurakhmonov and Dilmurod Sayid. The press release alleged that the conditions of detention of these prisoners have improved after regular visits by various commissions, including the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Uzbekistan.
A representative of the Press-Office of the ICRC, David Pierre Marquet told our organisation, that the program of visits of detained persons in Uzbekistan was discontinued in March 2013. And on 12 April 2013 a press release 13/64 was issued in this regard. This decision was explained by the ICRC director-general Yves Daccord: "In Uzbekistan we are unable to follow our standard working procedures when we visit detainees to assess the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they are receiving. As a result, we cannot address humanitarian issues and that renders any visits pointless."
The АНRCA knows from areliable sources that conditions in the penitentiary system of Uzbekistan doesnot yet comply with "Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners" and "Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners."
Uzbek authorities can no longer ignore the increased attention of the U.S. senators and international observers to the plight of imprisoned public figures. The visit of human rights defenders to political prisoners cheered them and maybe even gave them some hope of liberation. It is highly likely that the organisers counting on this result. Because right now preparation for the trip of Islam Karimov on February 21-23 to the Czech Republic is in full swing. And he knows that this visit is receiving very negative reaction in most of the democratic community, condemning his 25-year dictatorial rule.
What is happening to the detainees, the reason for their isolation and whereabouts remain unknown. Urgent intervention of the international community is required.
On 29 January 2014, close to 20:00 hours, Shukhrat Nurmukhamedov, a police inspector and four employees of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the city of Tashkent came to the house of photographer and documentarian Akhmedova. None of them presented themselves. They took Akhmedova and her son, the photographer Timur Karpov for "a conversation". They were not told the reason for detention or shown any documents justifying the detention. The police issued Summons for their detention only at the request of the detained. At about 22:00 hours Timur Karpov sent an SMS to his father that they were moved to Hamza District Department of the Internal Affairs. Most likely, they were first taken to the City Police Department, then the case was transferred to the Hamza District Police Department in accordance with place of residence of the detainees.
- Information about the detainees:
Timur Karpov, was born on 23 January 1990 in Tashkent. Since October 2012 has been working as a photo editor at the Russian Internet publication «Lenta.ru».
Umida Akhmedova, was born on 21 October 1956 in the Parkent District of Tashkent Region. She is a photographer and documentarian, lives in Tashkent. She graduated from the School of Cultural and Enlightenment in Vladimir (department of photography and filming), and in 1986 the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (RSIC).
She is the author of documentaries "The Burden of Virginity", "Women and Men in the Rites and Rituals" and the album "Women and Men from dusk till Dawn" for which, in February 2010, she was convicted on charges of "insulting" and "slander." The Court did not appointed a punishment as immediately after her conviction the Court pardoned Akhmedova.
On the same day, 29 January, it was reported that four more people working in field of culture were detained:
Alexander Ulko, was born on 29 February 1969 in Samarkand. Lives in Tashkent. Qualifications: Uzbek State University of World Languages (Tashkent) and College of St Mark and St John (Plymouth, United Kingdom). Teaches English at the British Council in Tashkent.
Ashot Danielyan, was born on 6 November 1983. Lives in Tashkent. Leader of the rock group «Wings of Origami».
Gulsum Usmanova. At this point we only know that she is from Baku.
Ilgar Gasimov. He is a talented musician.
- The detention of the creative authors was preceded by two events in which they all took part.
On 25 January 2014 in Tashkent House of Photography at the initiative photo club "Neformat" a photo exhibition entitled "One Space" was presented. Timur Karpov was among the participants. He was presenting photographs from the series "Ghost Towns". His work was banned for the show two hours before the show opened at the behest of the two leaders of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan - Chairman Akmal Nur and his deputy Ravshan Mirtadzhiev. The decision about censoring free creativity caused a conflict.
Once again, Uzbek authorities are unnecessarily restricting the freedom of artistic expression, in violation of the Constitution of Uzbekistan Article 29 (" Everyone has the right to freedom of thought , speech and expression") and Article 43 ("The State shall ensure the rights and freedoms embodied in the Constitution and the laws"). Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference") also commits Uzbekistan to respect freedom of expression. The state has pledged not to interfere in artistic activities, but all who depict social problems in their work are persecuted.
On 27 January 2014 all six, who were subsequently detained, took part in series of protests. The first of them took place at the Ukrainian Embassy in Tashkent – they showed their support of the pro-integration of Ukraine into the European Union protesters in Kiev on Evromaydan. The same day, the protesters visited the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Tashkent, where flags of Ukraine and Georgia were deployed. They also were at the Muslim complex of Hazrat (Hast) Imam. The participants of the event unfolded black and red flag, which is used by some activists in Evromaydan.
According to the AHRCA sources, the protesters did not disturb public order. They peacefully showed solidarity with the defenders of democratic values in Kiev.
Uzbek authorities did not leave without attention this free expression of citizenship point of view by the "chronic offenders" of repressive order in Uzbekistan, their friendly relations with the freedom fighters in Ukraine and Georgia. Moreover, they are defiantly violating the right of all detainees to representation and access to accurate information.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia calls the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of the European Union, international human rights organisations and diplomats of democratic countries to intervene immediately to ensure:
– humane treatment of detained protesters in Tashkent;
– access to information about their whereabouts;
– unhindered access to their lawyer;