Salijon Abdurakhmanov was arrested on 7 June 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in prison
Human rights workers in Uzbekistan have compiled a list of government officials responsible for the arrest and imprisonment of Salijon Abdurakhmanov, an Uzbek journalist.
“Abdurakhmanov’s List” compiled by human rights activists in May will be submitted to the US State Department to encourage the United States to apply sanctions to those listed.
The list contains the names of officials responsible for the sentencing and imprisonment of the Karakalpakstan journalist Abdurakhmanov. These individuals are being named as enemies of the free press and an open civil society within Uzbekistan.
Abdurakhmanov was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2008 on fabricated charges, and is currently serving time in a prison.
“Abdurakhmanov’s case is the most obvious example of how Uzbekistan’s government deals with those who are not afraid to speak out and disseminate facts to the general public about the state of affairs in the country,” says Elena Urlaeva, the leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU), and author of “Abdurakhmanov’s List”.
Who is on “Abdurakhmanov’s List”?
On the top of “Abdurakhmanov’s List” are D. Doshimova, A. Kutiboeva and A. Nurmasheva – all internal affairs investigators in Nikus, capital of Karakalpakstan – who fabricated the case against the journalist.
According to the human rights workers, these investigators certainly knew that the drugs found in Abdurakhmanov’s car were planted.
“Instead of following the letter of the law, these investigators demanded that Abdurakhmanov renounce his human rights activities,” says Urlaeva.
Tokhtakupirskiy district judge, K. Zhamolov, is next on the list. He ignored the evidence of Abdurakhmanov’s innocence and sentenced him in complete violation of the law of the land.
The so-called civil jurors, M. Kaiprakhmanov and A. Toreniyazov, and Tokhtakupirskiy district deputy prosecutor O. Khudaibergenov, who participated in the fabricated trial, have also made the list.
The authors of the list also include all those who worked on Abdurakhmanov’s appeal case and did not overturn the initial verdict. They are Karakalpakstan superior court deputy chairman A. Razzakova, members of the board A. Bakhiev and K. Adzhibaev, and prosecutor G. Kadyrov.
The list also contains the names of the bureaucrats from Nikus and Tashkent who penned responses to human rights activists’ and Abdurakhmanov’s relatives’ complaints and demands for his release.
Urlaeva regrets that the list only contains first name initials and last names of the involved individuals and hopes to collect full first names and middle names with time, not an easy task in today’s Uzbekistan.
Cannot bring to justice? At least a bit of public shame will do.
The activists plan to include the names of members of the President’s cabinet who forwarded the activists’ complaints of the mishandling of the case to the very agencies the complaints expressed grievances against.
“We have not yet been able to find those responsible within the President’s cabinet, however, these are precisely the officials who by virtue of simply forwarding our complaints signaled to those agencies that it was okay to disregard this case,” says PAU’s activist Shukhrat Rustamov.
According to the human rights lawyers, all of the individuals included on “Abdurakhmanov’s List” are in violation of the criminal code of Uzbekistan.
Namely, they are in violation of Article 230 (Bringing an innocent person to justice), which carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison, and Article 231 (Giving a guilty verdict to an innocent person), which carries an even stiffer punishment of up to ten years in a penal colony.
Actions by those officials who neglected to substantially respond to the submitted complaints fall, at a bare minimum, under Article 208 (Inaction by members of authority), which carries a sentence of three years in prison.
“However, these Articles remain “dormant” in Uzbekistan. That is why we compiled the list, in order to at least bring those responsible to justice,” says Urlaeva.
According to Urlaeva , Uzbek bureaucrats enjoy traveling abroad and like to present themselves as global citizens, so even the simple denial of a visa may “put them in a bad mood”.
Activists plan to prepare similar lists in the future to expose those responsible for persecution of other Uzbek journalists.