EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 62/02/96
UA 20/96 Fear of imminent execution 30 January 1996
UZBEKISTANSukhrob SOBIROV (______ _______ in cyrillic)
Bakhodir SHARIPOV, aged 22 (_______ _______)
Amnesty International fears that Bakhodir Sharipov and Sukhrob Sobirov face
imminent execution after having been sentenced to death in the former Soviet
republic of Uzbekistan. Appeals against their sentences have been turned
down by the Supreme Court, and their only hope of avoiding execution now is
a petition for clemency to the President of Uzbekistan.
Bakhodir Sharipov and Sukhrob Sobirov were sentenced to death by Samarkand
Regional Court on 7 May 1994 for premeditated, aggravated murder (Article 97
of the Uzbek Criminal Code). Relatives of the two men maintain that they are
innocent and there are allegations that they were sentenced to death because
they are ethnic Tajiks. Co-defendants in the case are of ethnic Uzbek origin
and they were either given light prison sentences or released from custody.
The relatives also claim that they had been approached by officials from the
regional procuracy and the regional court at the beginning of the criminal
investigation and asked to pay US $10,000 in exchange for lighter sentences
for Bakhodir Sharipov and Sukhrob Sobirov.
Following appeals by the men's relatives and a protest by the general procurator
of Uzbekistan, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan ordered a retrial
on 7 May 1995 in the case of two ethnic Uzbek co-defendants but upheld the
death sentences of the two ethnic Tajiks. Bakhodir Sharipov and Sukhrob
Sobirov lodged petitions for clemency with the President of Uzbekistan in June
The fathers of both men have only been allowed to visit their sons once on
death row. Bakhodir Sharipov's father was denied a second visit because his
son had allegedly refused to submit a petition for clemency. Bakhodir Sharipov
was working as a welder before his arrest. His father is very active in the
Tajik community in Samarkand.
Amnesty International has received allegations recently from unofficial sources
that 400 death sentences were passed in Uzbekistan in 1994. If confirmed,
this would place Uzbekistan among the top five countries in the world for passing
death sentences. It has also been reported that many executions are carried
out within 10 days of the petition for clemency being turned down by the President
of Uzbekistan, and sometimes within as little as three days.
In addition to the two men named above Amnesty International currently knows
of 11 other pending death sentences in Uzbekistan. The organization is calling
on the authorities also to commute these sentences. At least six executions
were carried out in 1994 and at least two executions were carried out in 1995.
Amnesty International has consistently pressed the Uzbek authorities to reduce
the scope of the death penalty as a step towards total abolition; to impose
a moratorium on death sentences and executions pending a review of this
punishment; and to publish comprehensive statistics on the application of the