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THE INITIATIVE GROUP OF INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS in UZBEKISTAN.

_________________________________________________




ALTERNATIVE REPORT
for the United Nations Committee against Torture

on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Report prepared by



Surat Ikramov

Chair, Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan (IGNPU)

Tashkent, September 2007

Contents


Abbreviations …………………………..………………………………………………page 5
Introduction …………………………….………………………………………………page 6
Activities of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan (IGNPU)…….…………………………………………………………………………..page 8

Definition of the term "torture" in the national legislation of Uzbekistan

(CAT Article 1).…………………………………………..…………………………..page 11
Legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures

to prevent acts of torture. (CAT Article 2)………………………..…………………..page 12


Expulsion, return (refoulement) or extradition of persons who may be subjected to torture (CAT Article 3)…….……………………………………………………………..…..page 13
Classification of acts of torture as offences

under the national criminal law. (CAT Article 4) ……..…..…………………….…..page 15


Measures of procedural enforcement taken by Uzbekistan against offenders

under Article 4 of the Convention. (CAT Article 6)…………..……………….…….page 18


Education and information regarding the prohibition against torture. (CAT Article 10).……………………………………………………………………………...……..page 19
Arrest, detention and custody, or imprisonment .(CAT Article 11)……..…………....page 20
Ensuring a prompt and impartial investigation

of cases of torture. (CAT Article 12).……………………………………………...… page 21


Persecution of human rights defenders, foreign and independent journalists, and political activists………………………………………………………………………………..page 22
Recommendations of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan…………………………………………………………………………….page 23
Table 1. Number of complaints and statements received by IGNPU and monitored torture-related lawsuits………………………………………………………………………..page 28
Table 2. Violations of Uzbekistan's Code of Criminal Procedure and the standards of international law by the judiciary, prosecutors, MIA and NSS………………………...………………………………………………………….page 28
Annex 1. A list of persons involved in acts of torture and persons who failed to investigate or prevent torture (MIA officers)……………………………………………………….page 29
Annex 2. A list of persons involved in acts of torture and persons who failed to investigate or prevent torture (NSS officers)……………………………………………………..page 35
Annex 3. A list of persons involved in acts of torture and persons who failed to investigate or prevent torture (prosecutors)……………………………………………………….page 36
Annex 4. A list of criminal justices who failed to investigate or prevent torture…………………………………………………………………………………page 39
Annex 5. A speech for the defense of fifteen defendants in court……….…………………………………………………………………………..page 41

Abbreviations
CA - Central Asia

CAI - Central Authority for Investigations

CAT - Convention against Torture

DI - Department of Investigations

EBRD - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

FEA - Financial and Economic Authority

GOVD1 - City Department of Internal Affairs

GUIN - Head Department of the Penitentiary

GUVD - Central Authority for Internal Affairs

IA - Investigative Authority

IGNPU - Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan

KIN - Penal Colony

MIA - Ministry of Internal Affairs

NGO - Non-governmental organizations

NSS - National Security Service

NSSD - National Security Service Department

OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

PF - pre-trial facility

ROVD - District Department of Internal Affairs

RUVD - District Authority for Internal Affairs

ShIZO - Punitive Isolation Ward

UN - United Nations Organization

UNCHR - United Nations Commission for Human Rights

UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees



UVD - Authority for Internal Affairs

Introduction
1. This report is based on the results of monitoring conducted by the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan (IGNPU), pleas and complaints submitted by victims of torture, their relatives, witnesses, and lawyers between March 2003 and August 2007.
2. During this time IGNPU has monitored 168 trials on political and religious grounds, where charges were most frequently related to the following articles of the Criminal Code:
- Article 155 Terrorism
- Article 156 Inciting Ethnic, Racial, or Religious Enmity
- Article 159 Encroachment on the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Uzbekistan
- Article 216 Illegal Founding of Public Associations or Religious Organizations
- Article 242 Organization of Criminal Groups
- Article 241 Failure to Report a Crime or Misprision of Crime
- Article 244 -1 Production or Distribution of Materials that Threaten Public Safety and Public Order
- Article 244 -2 Establishment, Management of, or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist, or Other Prohibited Organizations
-Article 248, Illegal Possession of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives or Explosive Devices, Section»
-Article 273 Illegal Production, Purchase, Storage, and Other Actions Involving Narcotics Substances or Psychotropic Agents for the Purpose of Selling, and the Sale of these Substances and Agents
3. Materials documenting cases of systematic torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment were obtained using the following sources:
a) monitoring and observation of trials, where defendants claimed that they had been tortured by MIA and NSS officers during detention and investigation with the purpose of obtaining confession;
b) letters received from pre-trial facilities, prisons, and penal institutions through the relatives of persons under investigation and prisoners, their lawyers, and officers of pre-trial facilities, prisons, and penal institutions;
c) pleas and complaints of lawyers representing defendants, persons under investigation, and prisoners, in which they present compelling evidence of the use of cruel torture against their clients;
d) witnesses under the criminal case, fellow inmates of victims of torture, and persons charged under the same criminal case;
4. Materials, documents, and photographs collected between March 2003 and August 2007 are stored in the IGNPU archives and comprise 5,358 (five thousand three hundred fifty eight) pages in 14 (fourteen) volumes, including:
a) statements and complaints sent to IGNPU by the relatives of victims of torture, witnesses and lawyers, and defense attorneys of detainees and defendants;
b) materials of the monitoring of trials on political and religious grounds conducted in Uzbekistan;
c) letters received from convicts serving their sentences in Uzbek prisons;
d) Statements by law-enforcement officers: MIA operative officers, MIA investigation officers, GUIN wardens, current and former officers of public prosecutors' offices;
5. Between 1997 and 2007 over 12,000 (twelve thousand) people were arrested and convicted in Uzbekistan on political and religious grounds. A list of 8,000 (eight thousand) people that have been arrested and convicted has been published by Memorial Human Rights Center (12 Malyi Karetnyi Pereulok, Moscow, 103051, Russian Federation) within the framework of the Central Asian human rights monitoring project of Memorial.
6. The report includes 170 (one hundred seventy) photographs of persons who died from torture, persons who were subjected to torture, victimized on political or religious grounds, and active human rights defenders. The pictures taken by members of IGNPU, relatives of torture victims, lawyers, and other human rights organizations serve as proof of acts of torture performed by the officers of MIA, NSS and prosecutors' offices against the citizens of Uzbekistan.


  1. An electronic version of the alternative report in Russian and in English can be found at the following address: www.ignpu.com.

The report was originally published in Russian on 1 September 2007.

Activities of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan (IGNPU).
8. Established in March 2002 by a human rights defender, Surat Ikramov, the organization now has 136 members who are active in defending the rights of Uzbek citizens in all areas of human rights advocacy informed by international human rights conventions that have been ratified and signed by the Government of Uzbekistan.
9. On 11 April 2002 the organization held its first picket by the Tashkent Khokimiyat (Town Hall), which produced a positive outcome. Since then IGNPU has conducted over 80 pickets and demonstrations in Tashkent and other parts of the country to address human rights-related demands to the government, law-enforcement agencies, and courts.
10. Since January 2002 IGNPU members have been monitoring acts of torture and criminal court trials in the city of Tashkent and in Tashkent, Syrdar'ya, Kashkadar'ya, Andijan, Fergana, and Samarkand Oblasts with the purpose of investigating current mass victimizations and persecutions on the grounds of religious beliefs. IGNPU has monitored over 168 trials, collecting hundreds of documents on acts of torture by law-enforcement agencies and intelligence services. These documents were presented to Theo van Boven, UN Special Rapporteur, in December 2002.

11. The Chair of IGNPU, Surat Ikramov, participated in trials as a public defendant and an authorized delegate. His participation, strongly supported by organization's memebers, produced tangible results..
12. Mr. K. Usmanov was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for religious beliefs. After an intervention by IGNPU in the court of review, on 18 July 2002 the term of imprisonment was reduced to 7 years with the court dismissing charges of violations of two articles of the Criminal Code. Mr. Usmanov was released under an amnesty in March 2003. In May 2006 he was detained and once again sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment under a fabricated criminal case.
13. Mr. D. Makhmudov was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment for religious beliefs. After an intervention by IGNPU in the court of review, on 3 December 2002 the term of imprisonment was reduced to 8 years with the court dismissing charges of violations of two articles of the Criminal Code. Mr. Makhmudov was also transferred to a penal institution, as requested by his family. He has since been released.
14. A fabricated criminal case was used to sentence Mr. I. Mirzadjanov, a minor under law to 7 years of imprisonment in 1999. Mr. Mirzadjanov was charged with violating Article 159 of the Criminal Code (Encroachment on the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Uzbekistan). In 2001 he was released under an amnesty. In 2002 a new case was fabricated against him, charging him with robbery. After participating in all stages of the trial, he was eventually released.
15. Following a closed trial involving a popular journalist and human rights advocate, Mr. Ruslan Sharipov, who was accused of "homosexual conduct", the court reduced his term of imprisonment from 5.5 years to 4 years. Mr. Sharipov was later released under pressure from the international community and granted political asylum. He currently resides in USA.
16. The organization provided counsel for the defense of Ms. Nilufar Khaydarova (born 1978) who was charged under a fabricated criminal case with complicity in the bomb attacks that occurred in Tashkent and Bukhara in late March and early April 2004. Ms. Khaydarova, charged with violations of 18 articles of the Criminal Code (14 of which were removed by court after the defense), was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment. After appealing the decision, her term of imprisonment was reduced to 4 years. Ms. Khaydarova is currently pending release.
17. IGNPU provided legal assistance to aid the release of Mr. Yadigar Turlibekov, a human rights defender sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment under fabricated charges of extortion. He was released under an amnesty on 21 December 2006 after spending 6 months in prison.
18. IGNPU assisted in the release of human rights defenders Ms. Umida Niyazova and Ms. Gul'bakhor Turaeva and journalist Mr. Ulugbek Khaydarov.
19. Participation as counsel for the defense during the trial of a popular folk singer and poet, Mr. Dadakhon Khasanov, under fabricated charges of "encroachment on the President of Uzbekistan, constitutional order of Uzbekistan, and public security of Uzbekistan". He was released on probation.
20. Participation in the trial of a well-known imam, Rukhiddin Fakhruddinov,, charged with violations of 11 articles of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. Mr. Fakhruddinov was sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment under a fabricated case. We are continuing to press for his release.
21. On 28 August 2003 the chairman of IGNPU, Mr. Surat Ikramov, was attacked in the center of Tashkent by four unidentified persons wearing masks and camouflage uniforms, who stopped Mr. Ikramov's car, took him out and, knocking him down on the sidewalk, tied his hands and feet and put a plastic bag over his head. After taking him with them out of town, they subjected him to severe beatings, resulting in two broken left ribs, a concussion, and multiple severe injuries. Following pressure on the Uzbek government by international organizations, foreign embassies in Uzbekistan, and member states of the European Union that demanded investigation of this attack on a human rights defender, the government of Uzbekistan acknowledged the attack (for the first time in its history) and ordered it to be investigated by MIA. However, this case has not been resolved yet.
22. Participating extensively in investigating the Andijan massacre of 12-14 May 2005. Dozens of reports on the shooting of civilian protesters by armed forces have been published
23. At the invitation of international organizations IGNPU presented reports at the following conferences, forums, and workshops:
Conference for Central Asian human rights defenders (Almaty, Kazakhstan), 13-14 December 2001.
OSCE Conference (Baku, Azerbaijan), 10-11 October 2002.
EBRD Summit (Tashkent, Uzbekistan), 4-5 May 2003.
Conference of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), 30-31 January 2004.
60th Annual UN Session on Human Rights (Geneva, Switzerland), 30 March 2004.
Annual EBRD Session (London, UK), 18-19 April 2004.
Conference of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), December 2005 and 13 May 2006.
OSCE Conference (Vienna, Austria), 30-31 March 2006.
Annual EBRD Session (London, UK), 20-23 May 2006.
Workshop for Central Asian human rights defenders (Istanbul, Turkey), January 2007.
Workshop for Uzbek human rights defenders (London, UK), March 2007.
Workshop for Central Asian political leaders and human rights defenders (Berlin, Germany), 6-14 May 2007.
24. IGNPU works in close cooperation with the following international organizations: Human Rights Watch (HRW), Freedom House, Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), International Crisis Group (ICG), International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Memorial, OSCE and UNDP offices in Tashkent, and with the embassies of the following countries in Uzbekistan: United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, and France.
25. IGNPU works closely with foreign journalists of BBC Radio, Radio Freedom, Deutche Welle, Voice of America, Internews, Associated Press, United Press, Reuters, France Press, IWPR, and CNN.
26. IGNPU members participated in workshops and trainings organized by OSCE, Freedom House, Counterpart Consortium, and the United Nations both in Tashkent and abroad.
27. In 2004, with the support of Freedom House IGNPU initiated a Torture Prevention Group comprising 10 human rights defenders. The group seeks to find points of contact and to create a dialogue with the government to help prevent torture. Some positive outcomes have been achieved following negotiations between the group and high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Service of Uzbekistan.
28. IGNPU members remain active despite persecutions and pressure from the government to cease human rights activities.
29. The Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan

For additional information please contact:



E-mail: surat.i@rambler.ru

Website: www.ignpu.com

Telephone (office): +998-71- 148-04-14, + 998-71- 248-80-26.



Telephone (mobile): + 998-97-119-76-89.
30. The Tashkent-based Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan (IGNPU) is a human rights organization active in advocating human rights and freedom of speech in Uzbekistan. IGNPU has 9 regional offices and with 136 members in various parts of Uzbekistan.
31. This report would not have become possible without the contribution of the following human rights defenders and members of IGNPU: Mr. Rakhmatullo Alibaev, Mr. Ulugbek Usmanov, Ms. Gul'nora Fayzieva, Mr. Yadigar Turlibekov, Mr. Bakhodir Elibaev,and others. The author of the alternative report would like to extend his gratitude to the staff of Human Rights Watch who worked in Tashkent between 2003 and 2007, to Ms. Matilda Bogner, Ms. Allison Gill, and Ms. Andrea Berg for their support and cooperation during the monitoring of criminal trials. The author would also like to thank international organizations, foundations, and sponsors for their assistance.

Definition of the term "torture" in the national legislation of Uzbekistan. (CAT Article 1)
32. In August 2003 the Parliament introduced minor amendments to Article 235 of the Criminal Code entitled "Compulsion of Evidence" and Article 235 was renamed to "Use of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment". During a plenary session in December 2003 Uzbekistan's Supreme Court adopted Resolution No. 17 of 19 December 2003, which is nearly identical to Article 1 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984.
33. Since Uzbekistan has no independent judiciary, judges are not guided by the decisions of a Supreme Court plenary or by legal norms when passing judgments. After monitoring 168 trials throughout Uzbekistan, IGNPU identified the following issues:
а) Trials involved serious violations of the Uzbekistan's Code of Criminal Procedure and standards of international law;
b) When cases of torture were made known following a statement by the defendant and a petition by the defense attorney, courts would not investigate statements on the use of torture during detention preliminary enquiry;
c) During many trials the public prosecutor was absent either completely or during parts of the trial;
34. In cases when it became clear that torture was used against a detainee, defendant, or convict perpetrated by officers of MIA, NSS or public prosecutor's offices in violation of Article 235 of the Criminal Code, rather than being prosecuted the perpetrators were fired, demoted, or remained unpunished.
35. IGNPU has collected over 5,358 pages of materials dating between March 2003 and August 2007 that contain irrefutable evidence of the use of torture against detainees, defendants, and convicts by operative officers and investigation officers with MIA and NSS and by wardens in penal institutions and pre-trial facilities. These documents include the names of victims of torture and the MIA and NSS officers who used torture, descriptions of torture methods, and photographs.

Legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture. (CAT Article 2)
36. The following enacted laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan do not work since there is no mechanism to enforce these laws:
Law on Citizen's Appeals (January 2003).
Law on the Human Rights Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis (the Ombudsman) (December 2004).
Law on Courts (amended) (January 2003).
37. When people send complaints and statements to the administrations of courts, prosecutors' offices, MIA, NSS, to the office of Uzbekistan's President, Cabinet, or Parliament, these complaints and statements are ignored and forwarded to the agencies that are the source of the complaints. Replies, if they are sent at all, are usually unconsidered or beside the point.
38. The Human Rights Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis (the Ombudsman) also forwards the complaints and statements that he receives to the agencies that caused these complaints, while Ombudsman's annual report cites statistics regarding the number of complaints and statements that are forwarded to the organizations in question. As a result, the authors of complaints receive merely formal replies from these organizations.
39. Uzbekistan's courts are subject to the executive branch of government; after a lower court pronounces a sentence, higher courts, courts of review and appeal rarely review the sentence of the lower court and their decisions usually leave the initial sentence in force. The same happens when complaints are sent to the Supreme Court.
40. As of this time Uzbekistan has not enacted Laws on Agencies of Internal Affairs and on the National Security Service.
41. To support the above statements IGNPU can present hundreds of complaints and statements from victims of torture, their relatives, lawyers and witnesses that demonstrate that judges lack independence, while citizens' complaints and statements addressed to judicial and administrative bodies are largely ignored.


Expulsion, return (refoulement) or extradition of persons who may be subjected to torture

(CAT Article 3)



42. Uzbekistan is a country that systematically uses torture and continually practices violations of human rights. This has been recognized by the international community and demonstrated in the report of the UNCHR Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Theo Van Boven, who visited Uzbekistan in November-December 2002.
43. A team from UNCHR led by Mr. Theo Van Boven visited several penal institutions, met with local human rights organizations and groups, which presented materials on torture, and with victims of torture, their relatives, lawyers and witnesses of torture.
44. However, in defiance of the earlier agreement with the Government of Uzbekistan, representatives of UNCHR were not allowed to visit the pre-trial facility of the National Security Service. The UNCHR team collected enough evidence to demonstrate that torture was systematically used against detainees, defendants and convicts.
45. Contrary to the provisions of this CAT article, a number of states signatory to the Convention, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, continue to extradite people who are wanted by Uzbekistan's authorities for religious and political reasons.

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