Uzbekistan – Harassment and threats against human rights defenders Ms Saida Kurbanova and Ms Nuriniso Kholboyeva
On 8 January 2013, human rights defenders Ms Saida Kurbanova and Ms Nuriniso Kholboyeva were monitored by unknown individuals. This incident follows continuous acts of harassment and threats against the human rights defenders by local police since their release from prison on 21 December 2012, including demands that they present themselves to a local police station.
Saida Kurbanova is Director of the Pakhtakor district of the non-governmental organisation Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) in Djizak region, while Nuriniso Kholboyeva is a human rights defender and member of “Birdamlik”, an oppositional democratic movement.
On 5 January 2013, a local police officer, Mr Akhmat Kakharov, visited the residence of Saida Kurbanova. As she was not home at the time, the police officer called her mobile phone to ask where she was and if they could meet. Saida Kurbanova replied that as there was no formal warrant issued, she could not meet the police officer.
Later that day, the same police officer called Saida Kurbanova again and requested that she present herself to the office of the Deputy Chairman of Pakhtakor district police, Mr Zhakhanov. Saida Kurbanova replied that as there was no matter to discuss, she would not come to the office. According to reports, the police officer continued to call Saida Kurbanova the same day with similar requests, including calling her on one occasion from the mobile phone of the Chairman of Chamanzor village police in Pakhtakor district. Mr Zhakhanov also attempted to call the human rights defender that day.
On 7 January 2013, the abovementioned local police officer, Mr Kakharov, visited the home of Saida Kurbanova with the same request to present herself to the police station. Mr Zhakhanov also phoned the human rights defender that day, stating that she was not abiding by the “promises” she had made while in prison in December 2012.
Nuriniso Kholboyeva has also been subjected to acts of harassment by police. On 5 January 2013, a local police officer, who identified himself as “Rustam”, entered Nuriniso Kholboyeva’s house and searched her apartment. The police officer subsequently demanded that the human rights defender go with him to the police station. When Nuriniso Kholboyeva refused to do so without the presence of a warrant, the police officer threatened her that if she did not agree to come, he would use force and that she would have many problems. Furthermore, on 7 January 2013, a police officer who identified himself as “Khasan” attemped to drag Nuriniso Kholboyeva from her home.
On 8 January 2013, three unknown individuals monitored Saida Kurbanova and Nuriniso Kholboyeva as they were visiting human rights defender Mr Uktam Pardayev at his home.
On 7 December 2012, both human rights defenders were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention on charges of “hooliganism”, after being attacked by a woman who alleged that the human rights defenders had attacked her, and were released on 21 December, Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on this case on 12 December 2012.
Front Line Defenders would like to express its serious concern regarding these acts of harassment and threats committed against Saida Kurbanova and Nuriniso Kholboyeva, and believes that these actions to be motivated by their peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights in Uzbekistan.