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Uzbekistan: Fear for safety / ill-treatment in custody: Mikhail Ardzinov

, رقم الوثيقة: EUR 62/012/1999

There is grave concern for the safety of Mikhail Ardzinov, the chairman of the Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan (NOPCHU). During a search of his apartment by officers from the Tashkent City Department of Internal Affairs (GUVD) on 25 June 1999, he was detained and reportedly seriously assaulted by plainclothes GUVD officers, sustaining injuries including two broken ribs, concussion and contused kidneys, which were detailed in a medical certificate issued by the medical officer of the United States Embassy in Tashkent. He has been called for questioning again at the GUVD, but has reportedly gone on hunger-strike and is refusing to leave his apartment.

PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 62/12/99
UA 149/99 Fear for safety /ill-treatment in custody 28 June 1999
UZBEKISTANMikhail Ardzinov, human rights defender
Amnesty International fears for the safety of human rights defender Mikhail
Ardzinov, who was seriously injured during a search of his apartment by officers
from the Tashkent City Department of Internal Affairs (GUVD) on 25 June 1999.
He was reportedly ordered to present himself at the GUVD two days later for
further questioning. His injuries included two broken ribs, concussion and
contused kidneys, as well as cuts and bruises.
These injuries are detailed in a medical certificate issued by the medical
officer of the United States Embassy in Tashkent, who examined Mikhail Ardzinov
on 26 June at the request of the Embassy and a representative of the
non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch. The certificate was delivered
to the GUVD investigator in charge of the case at 2.30 the same day. At 6pm
a GUVD officer reportedly came to the door of Mikhail Ardzinov’s apartment,
demanding that he present himself at the GUVD for questioning the next day
at 10am. Mikhail Ardzinov refused to open the door to receive the official
order. He has reportedly gone on hunger strike and is refusing to leave his
apartment.
According to unofficial reports, Mikhail Ardzinov sustained these injuries
after plainclothes officers from the GUVD detained him in the street on 25
June at 9.30am, reportedly beating him as they forced him into a car and took
him to his apartment. There a uniformed investigator was waiting with a search
warrant relating to a criminal case against Mikhail Ardzinov for "hooliganism".
This was apparently the first Mikhail Ardzinov had heard of the case. Officers
searched his apartment, confiscating computer and other equipment, and both
personal and other documents, including the archives of the Independent Human
Rights Organization of Uzbekistan (NOPCHU), an unregistered human rights
organization of which he is the chairman, and his passport.
After the search Mikhail Ardzinov was taken by car to the GUVD. On arrival
he was beaten again, in the lift and corridors. He was questioned until 11pm,
when he was driven back to his apartment. Throughout his detention and
interrogation he was denied access to a lawyer, medical assistance and telephone
contact.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Mikhail Ardzinov is a former prisoner of conscience. A fellow member of NOPCHU,
Akhmadkhon Turakhanov, recently died in custody (see follow-up to EXTRA 34/99,
EUR 62/11/99, 25 June 1999). These events have taken place against the background
of a number of violent incidents, including a series of explosions in the
capital, Tashkent, in February 1999. These have led to a clampdown in Uzbekistan
on individuals and groups perceived as a threat to the stability and authority
of the government. Heavy sentences have been handed down after sweeping arrests
and trials whose conduct gives serious cause for concern. Amnesty International
believes that Mikhail Ardzinov’s arrest and subsequent ill-treatment may be
related to his recent outspoken criticism of the authorities, in particular
their conduct of a trial of 22 men, which ended on 28 June, in which six death
sentences were handed down following proceedings which were described by a
Human Rights Watch trial observer as biassed and shoddy. Further trials are
expected or are already in progress.
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RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/e-mails/express/airmail
letters in Russian or your own language:
- protesting at the reported ill-treatment of Mikhail Ardzinov by GUVD officers;
- demanding that he be protected from further ill-treatment and that he be
spared further questioning until his health permits it;
- expressing concern that he was reportedly denied access to a lawyer during
questioning, and demanding that he be given the means to conduct a defence;
- demanding a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations that
he was ill-treated and denied access to a lawyer and medical assistance.
APPEALS TO:
President of Uzbekistan, Islam Abduganievich KARIMOV
700000 g. Tashkent, pr. Uzbekistansky, Rezidentsiya Prezidenta, Prezidentu
Karimovu I.A., UZBEKISTAN
Telegrams:Prezidentu Karimovu, 700000 Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Faxes:+ 998 71 139 5315
E-mail:uzinfo@uzinfo.gov.uz
Salutation:Dear President Karimov
The Oliy Majlis (Parliamentary) Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Sayora
Rashidova
700008 g. Tashkent, pl. Mustakillik, 2, Oliy Majlis Respubliki Uzbekistan
Upolnomochenoy po pravam cheloveka pri Oliy Majlis Rashidovoy S., UZBEKISTAN
Faxes: +998 71 139 8555
E-mail:mtillaboev@oliymajlis.gov.uz
Salutation:Dear Ms Rashidova
Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Zakirzhan Almatovich
ALMATOV
700029 g. Tashkent, ul. Novruz,1, Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del, Ministru
vnutrennikh del Almatovu Z.A., UZBEKISTAN
Faxes: +998 71 133 89 34
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES to:
General Procurator of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Buritosh MUSTAFOYEV
700000 g. Tashkent, ul. Gogolya, 66, Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan,
Generalnomu prokuroru MUSTAFOYEVU B.
Salutation: Dear Minister
and to diplomatic representatives of Uzbekistan accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 9 August 1999.

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