Sep 012008

Dublin: Call for release of imprisoned human rights defenders in Uzbekistan

On Monday 1 September Front Line joined human rights organisations across Europe taking part in an International Day of Action in support of the 15 human rights defenders currently in prison in Uzbekistan because of their legitimate human rights work.

Further Information

In Dublin Uzbek human rights defender Mr Abdujalil Boymatov, who was recently granted refugee status here because he had been subjected to repeated arrests and attacks and faced the possibility of a further prison term in Uzbekistan because of his human rights work, will present a letter demanding the release of all Uzbek human rights defenders currently in prison to Deputy Dr. Michael Woods TD, Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Ireland has led the way in protecting human rights defenders in the past and I hope that Ireland will once again show its commitment to the protection of human rights defenders by sending a clear message to the government of President Islam Karimov ” said Mr Boymatov “However to date the weak approach of the EU in general to human rights in Uzbekistan has encouraged the Uzbek Government to maintain its repression of human rights defenders” he continued.

Mr Boymatov will be joined by the members of Front Line, the International Foundation for the Protection of human Rights Defenders based in Blackrock.

The prisoners currently in detention include President Karimov’s own nephew, journalist Jamshid Karimov who has been forcibly detained in a psychiatric prison and treated with psychotropic drugs because of his trenchant criticism of the regime.

The situation for human rights defenders and independent journalists has continued to deteriorate and the authorities have further restricted their freedom of speech, assembly and movement in 2008. At least 15 human rights defenders continue to serve long prison terms in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions having been convicted after unfair trials.

Several of them have reportedly been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention. Those human rights activists and journalists not forced into exile and not in detention were routinely monitored by uniformed or plain-clothes law enforcement officers; human rights defenders are called in for questioning to their local police stations, placed under house arrest or otherwise prevented from attending meetings with foreign diplomats or delegations or from taking part in peaceful demonstrations.

Human rights defenders and journalists continue to report being threatened by members of the security services for carrying out legitimate activities. Several have reported being beaten by law enforcement officers or people they suspected working for the security services. Relatives report being threatened and harassed by security forces; some have been detained and jailed in order to put pressure on human rights defenders.

See attached letter to the Irish Oireachtas (Parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee re situation of human rights defenders in Uzbekistan.

For further information please contact: Jim Loughran, Head of Media and Communications, Front Line Tel 00 353 1 212 37 50 Mobile 00 353 (0)87 93 77 586

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Letter to Irish Foreign Affairs Committee.pdf 209.2 KB

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