PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 62/29/99
14 December 1999
EXTRA 178/99 Death Penalty/possible imminent execution
UZBEKISTANArsen Albertovich ARUTYUNYAN (_____ ___________ ________), aged 20
Danis Vladimirovich SIRAZHEV (_____ ____________ _______), aged 24
Arsen Arutyunyan and Danis Sirazhev are believed to be in danger of imminent
execution. An appeal against their death sentences has been lodged with the
Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, which is expected to make a decision on 20 December.
The two men are the lead singers of a well-known Uzbek pop group, Al-Vakil.
They were charged with the April 1998 killing of a famous Uzbek singer, Laylo
Aliyeva, and sentenced to death by Tashkent City Court on 3 November 1999 for
premeditated, aggravated murder (Article 97 of the Uzbek Criminal Code).
According to the information received by Amnesty International, both men were
held incommunicado for two weeks after they were detained, on 3 June 1999 in
Tashkent. After he was granted access, Arsen Arutyunyan's lawyer was still
not allowed to meet with him in private. The two men confessed to killing Laylo
Aliyeva, but there is serious concern that their confessions were extracted
under duress. According to reliable sources Arsen Arutyunyan's family was
threatened several times. There was also an attempted assault on his sister.
Some of his family have fled Uzbekistan as a result.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases and without
reservation, as a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected
to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as proclaimed in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Uzbekistan retains the death penalty for eight offences, including aggravated
murder. In 1998 the Oliy Majlis (parliament) removed the death penalty from
the criminal code as a punishment for five other offences.
Amnesty International is seriously concerned that Uzbekistan continues to carry
out executions, and this concern is heightened by the fact that a substantial
number of men sentenced to death have alleged that they were tortured in
pre-trial detention. Conditions on death row have been described by former
prisoners as particularly cruel. Amnesty International has consistently pressed
the Uzbek authorities to reduce the scope of the death penalty as a step towards
total abolition. The organization has also asked that they impose a moratorium
on death sentences and executions pending a review of this punishment and that
they publish comprehensive statistics on the application of the death penalty.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/e-mails/express/airmail
letters in Russian or your own language:
- urging the President to use his constitutional authority to commute the death
sentences passed on Arsen Arutyunyan and Danis Sirazhev, as well as all other
death sentences that come before him;
- urging that a moratorium be imposed on death sentences and executions pending
a comprehensive review of the death penalty;
- expressing concern at allegations that Arsen Arutyunyan's and Danis Sirazhev's
confessions were extracted by force and asking the authorities to launch an
independent and impartial investigation into these allegations;
- asking for assurances that the safety of both men’s families be guaranteed.