Uzbekistan: Arrest of human rights defender Uktam Pardayev
On 30 September 2012, at approximately 10:00 am, human rights defender Mr Uktam Pardayev was beaten and arrested at a service station in the town of Djizak by several armed policemen.
Since his arrest, relatives of the human rights defender have been denied any information regarding his situation or whereabouts. Uktam Pardayev is the Chairperson of the Independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (IHRSU) in the region of Djizak.
On 30 September Uktam Pardayev entered a service station on Tashkentskaya street in the town of Djizak, in his car, when three policemen who were present suddenly ordered that the station be closed and told the human rights defender not to move. They refused to explain to Uktam Pardayev the reason for this order, and additional police officers were called in. Minutes later, four more uniformed policemen arrived in a second car, after which Uktam Pardayev was beaten, forced into a white Zhiguli car and driven off in an unknown direction.
Since the time of his arrest, Uktam Pardayev’s relatives have been refused information about the human rights defender’s whereabouts. They have visited the city police stations, the local office of the Department of Interior Affairs, and the national security office. Uktam Pardayev’s brother handed out written requests to inform them about his brother’s whereabouts, which was accepted by the Department of Interior Affairs, but refused by the national security office.
Calls by Uktam Pardayev’s relatives to police officers have not been answered. Only at midnight on 1 October was Uktam Pardayev’s brother able to connect with the district policeman of Khandzor district, who told him not to bother and that nothing bad was going to happen to the human rights defender. Front Line Defenders tried to talk to the same policeman, but after hearing the name Uktam Pardayev, the policeman hung the phone. In a phone call to the Djizak prosecutor’s office, the prosecutor’s assistant answered that they would find out what is happening.
In mid-September 2012, Uktam Pardayev was followed by a white Daewoo Nexia car by persons in plainclothes. On 8 September, neighbours of the human rights defender were visited by officers from the Department of Internal Affairs and questioned about Uktam Pardeyev’s movements and contacts. On 30 August, Uktam Pardayev’s house was visited by police officers, who in a later phone call reported having been sent by the Department of Interior Affairs, and the human rights defender’s mother was asked for his phone number.
Uktam Pardayev has previously indicated he believes these measures started after a visit to his house by officials from the American Embassy about his Human Rights work.
In addition to this, Uktam Pardayev has been continuously denied an exit visa since the start of his application in December 2011. During an interview for his application on 25 January 2012, he was questioned by an unnamed security official about the type of human rights activities he was involved in. On 11 June 2012, the Djizak Inter-District Court refused to consider Uktam Pardayev’s appeal against the denial of his visa application on the ground that it was outside of the court’s jurisdiction. On 29 August 2012, the Regional Court of Djizak, overruled the decision of the court of first instance and sent the appeal back to be heard by the court.