UA: 114/15 Index: EUR 62/1709/2015 Uzbekistan Date: 22 May 2015
five more years for ‘violating prison rules’
Human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Azam Farmonov, has been sentenced to a further five-year imprisonment for allegedly violating prison rules. He was due to be released at the end of April after serving nine years in prison.
The wife of prisoner of conscience Azam Farmonov, Ozoda Yakubova, received a phone call on 21 May from a former detainee in the pre-trial detention centre in the town of Nukus. He told her that Azam Farmonov had been sentenced by the Kungrad Regional Criminal Court to an additional five-year imprisonment for allegedly violating prison rules under article 221 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, “disobedience to legitimate orders of administration of penal institutions”. Ozoda Yakubova does not know which exact violations were attributed to Azam Farmonov. The court did not notify her of the trial dates and neither she nor any independent observers were able to attend the trial. According to the caller, Azam Farmonov was transferred back to Jaslyk prison, a remote high-security prison camp in the north western Karakalpakstan region, where he served his original nine-year sentence.
Azam Farmonov had been transferred from Jaslyk prison to the pre-trial detention facility in Nukus in April 2015. He was due to be released at the end of April 2015.
Azam Farmonov, 36, a member of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) was convicted for extortion on 15 June 2006 and sentenced to nine years in prison in the absence of a defence lawyer or a legal representative. The sentence was largely based on coerced witness testimony. He has always maintained his innocence. Azam Farmonov was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while he was held in pre-trial detention.
Article 221 of the Criminal Code punishes prisoners for committing infractions of the prison rules by imposing further terms of imprisonment of up to five years. There are no publicly available official lists of prison rules and their application often appears to be arbitrary and politically-motivated.
Please write immediately in Uzbek, Russian, English or your own language:
Reminding the Uzbekistani authorities that Azam Farmonov is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and that he should be released immediately and unconditionally.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 JULY 2015 TO:
Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan
ul. Gulyamova 66
Fax: +998 71 133 39 17
Minister of Internal Affairs
Ministry of Internal Affairs
ul. Junus Rajabiy 1
Fax: + 998 71 233 89 34
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
ul. Uzbekistanskaia 43
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
five more years for ‘violating prison rules’
Azam Farmonov was detained in his hometown of Gulistan in eastern Uzbekistan on 29 April 2006, and taken to the pre-trial detention centre in the nearby town of Khavast. He was kept incommunicado for at least a week and he later told his family that he had been beaten and that police officers had put a gas mask over his head and turned off the air supply. He also said he was beaten on his legs and heels with truncheons, in order to force him to sign a confession. Despite the torture he was subjected to he didn’t sign a confession and he has always maintained his innocence.
Before his arrest, Azam Farmonov had defended the rights of local farmers who had accused some district farming officials of extortion, corruption and failing to protect farmers’ interests. He alleged that after he started investigating the farmers’ allegations and confronted local officials with his findings, some of the farmers were pressured by local officials and police, including through physical intimidation, to withdraw their allegations against the officials and instead to accuse Azam Farmonov of exerting pressure on the farmers to implicate local officials in abuse of their positions.
On 16 May 2006 Azam Farmonov was charged with extortion under Article 165 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. His family refused to use the services of his state-appointed lawyer after they learned that the lawyer had torn up the written complaint that Azam Farmonov had given him describing the torture he had endured in detention.
Azam Farmonov submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding the torture he was subjected to, and his family lodged numerous complaints with all the relevant authorities, however, to date no investigation has taken place.
Name: Azam Farmonov
Gender m/f: M
UA: 114/15 Index: EUR 62/1709/2015 Issue Date: 22 May 2015"Azam Farmonov, has been sentenced to a further five-year imprisonment",