UZBEKISTAN: No names, no questions, in latest trials of Muslims
In a trial of 12 Muslims in the Fergana [Farghona] Valley, apparently on trial for being devout, Judge Gozikhon Yakhyakhojayev has refused to release the names of the accused, telling Forum 18 News Service that "I myself have not yet got to grips with this case, and I feel it is simply too early to give any details to the press." In another trial, of 2 devout Muslims, his colleague Judge Ismailov has been accused by defence lawyers of joining the prosecution in trying to secure convictions, and of not allowing defence lawyers to question witnesses. In both cases, Forum 18 has been told that the ordinary police and NSS secret police have been accused of planting evidence on those accused.
Local human rights activist Akhmajon Abdullayev told Forum 18 on 10 August that "we do not yet know all the names of the accused, because the judge at Namangan regional court Gozikhon Yakhyakhojayev will not give us the final indictment. The only thing we know for certain is that all the accused were arrested by the police in January and released within 24 hours, but that immediately after the terrorist attacks in April this year the police and staff from the National Security Service [the secret police] searched their homes and apparently found leaflets issued by the [banned] Hizb ut-Tahrir party (see F18News 4 June 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=334). However, relatives of the accused say that the leaflets had simply been planted and that the only real crime of the accused was that of being fervent Muslim believers." (A description of Hizb ut-Tahir's aims is in F18News 29 October 2003 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=170).
Judge Gozikhon Yakhyakhojayev, speaking to Forum 18 from Namangan on 18 August, refused to give the names of the accused and said that "There have only been three legal hearings so far, and I myself have not yet got to grips with this case, and I feel it is simply too early to give any details to the press."
Following the trial of two devout Muslims from Buvaid, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Fergana, Akhmatakul Gainazarov and Abdula Kamalov (see F18News 10 August 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=391), lawyers for the accused tried to gwet the convictions overturned, as Judge Ismailov had joined the prosecution in trying to secure convictions and did not allow defence lawyers to question witnesses, according to Fergana human rights activist Akhmajon Madmarov. However, the head of the regional court for Fergana region rejected the lawyers' challenge and did not overturn the guilty verdict.
For more background information see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey at http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=105
A printer-friendly map of Uzbekistan is available at
16 August 2004
Abdugafar Karimov is the latest Muslim apparently jailed for being a devout Muslim known to Forum 18 News Service, being sentenced to five years' imprisonment for "undermining the constitutional basis of the Republic of Uzbekistan". His wife, Oklima Karimova, says that evidence of about 10 Hizb ut-Tahrir leaflets and a video was planted, and told Forum 18 that one prosecution witness refused to appear in court because of "a troubled conscience". Further similar trials are continuing.
10 August 2004
In the latest series of trials of Muslims, apparently simply because they are devout Muslims, ten men have been sentenced to jail terms of between 10 and 12 years, a local human rights activist has told Forum 18 News Service. All ten have denied the criminal charges made and claim that evidence was planted on them. Forum 18 has been told that the wife of one of those arrested, Mukudas Yusupova, was mistakenly given by police a document showing the results of the search before the search had been conducted. Neither lawyers for the accused, nor human rights activists, nor journalists, were allowed into the court to hear the sentence, and police officers beat up protestors calling for journalists, human rights activists and lawyers to be allowed into the court.
6 August 2004
Two groups of Muslims, detained respectively just before and just after the March/April terrorist attacks, are now being tried in southern Uzbekistan, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. The authorities state that leaflets of the banned Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir party and drugs were found in the homes of the people being tried, but a local human rights activist insists to Forum 18 that this evidence was planted, and that their only "crime" was to be devout Muslims. Relatives claim that those accused were subjected to brutal treatment during questioning. Although the trials are officially open to the public, both journalists and human rights activists have been refused admittance.