Tashkent: trial of journalist behind closed doors, allegations of torture

(Eurasia LIFT) The trial of a well-known journalist Hayrullo Hamidov, 35 and a further 14 suspects accused of taking part in illegal religious organisations and threatening public security started at Tashkent Region’s Yangiyul District criminal court. The pretext for Hamidov arrest was his speech about the Salafia Islamic movement at a birthday party earlier this year.

Surat Ikramov, the head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Activists of Uzbekistan, said that the charges against the suspects had been trumped up. He noted that almost all of them had been tortured during the investigation.

“The trail is held behind closed doors. Police blocked roads in a radius of two kilometres from the court building, while the suspects’ relatives, journalists and human rights activists are not allowed to attend the trial.”

“We tried to help his [the journalist’s] family pay for a lawyer’s services, but we tumbled into the deaf wall of fear. We tried to use Hamidov’s friends but in vain. His former colleagues we were told were his friends turned way from him,” a stringer for Reporters Without Borders told Uznews.net.

Hamidov was detained on 21 January after police searched his flat and seized video, audio and printing material on religious topics.

The Yangiyul district court has claimed notoriety after it jailed 11 people for five to seven years for taking part in illegal religious organisations earlier this month. In addition the trial of 15 suspects, it has also started the trial of 13 citizens on the same charges.

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One Response

  1. Uzbekistan is not a place where generally suspects are tortured. I was recently detained for 124 days in GVD and Rehabilitation Center and had heard many stories about Torture. But to be very honest I did not find even one case of Torture even while I was in GVD. On the contrary I was treated very respectfully in the GVD. I would not say that there is not a single case of torture. But according to my opinion and knowledge Uzbekistan Government has a very strict policy against Torture and security officials are generally afraid. I am a Pakistani national living in Uzbekistan since last 18 years. I was detained from 10th December 2009 till 12th April 2010 in Tashkent. Some readers may think that I am writing this comment under some pressure or incentive. But the people who know me would understand that I have my own opinion which can not be changed under pressure. Based on my experience of My life in Tashkent Uzbekistan I would say that generally majority of the stories are hyped up to gain finacially by some interest groups.

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