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UA 263/94 - Uzbekistan: "disappearance": Murad Dzhurayev, Erkin Ashurov

, Index number: EUR 62/019/1994

Murad Dzhurayev and Erkin Ashurov, activists of the outlawed Erk (Freedom) party, have "disappeared". Unofficial sources have alleged that they were abducted on the night of 17-18 June 1994 from Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they were living as political exiles. Their abductors are believed to have been officers of Uzbekistan's Ministry of Internal Affairs. Sources have suggested that they may have been arrested in connection with a continuing clampdown against a clandestine newspaper which Erk produces.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 62/19/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 263/94 "Disappearance" 8 July 1994
UZBEKISTAN Murad Dzhurayev (_____ _______ in cyrillic), aged 53
Erkin Ashurov (_____ ______), aged 39
Murad Dzhurayev and Erkin Ashurov, activists of the outlawed Erk (Freedom)
opposition political party, have "disappeared". The two men were kidnapped
on the night of 17-18 June 1994 in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, where
they were living as political exiles from neighbouring Uzbekistan. Their
abductors are believed to have been officers of Uzbekistan's Ministry of
Internal Affairs who have taken them back to Uzbekistan. However, the
Uzbekistan authorities have not acknowledged that they are holding the two
men.
According to unofficial sources, six officers of Uzbekistan's Ministry of
Internal Affairs came to the apartment in Almaty where Murad Dzhurayev and
Erkin Ashurov were living. Before entering they ripped out the telephone line
into the apartment, then broke down the door, rushed in and assaulted and
handcuffed Murad Dzhurayev and Erkin Ashurov. After a search of the apartment
(during which the officers allegedly stole US$400), Murad Dzhurayev and Erkin
Ashurov were taken away.
Sources have suggested that the two men have been arrested in connection with
a continuing clampdown against a clandestine newspaper which Erk produces
outside Uzbekistan and distributes clandestinely inside the country. The
Uzbekistan authorities apparently believe that the newspaper originates in
Almaty.
Murad Dzhurayev is a former deputy to Uzbekistan's Supreme Council (parliament)
and former chairman of the district council in Mubarek, Kashkadarya Region,
southern Uzbekistan. Erkin Ashurov is a former director of a tea processing
factory in Samarkand, but was dismissed from that post in 1992 because of his
membership of Erk.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Freedom Democratic Party - Erk - was founded in April 1990, and was officially
registered as Uzbekistan's first opposition political party in September 1991
(the ruling party in Uzbekistan is the People's Democratic Party, the former
Communist Party). Erk claims a nationwide registered membership of 54,000.
During 1992 Erk took an increasingly radical opposition stance in the face
of harassment from the authorities. Since October 1993 Erk has been effectively
banned after it did not meet the terms of a decree requiring all political
organizations to re-register. A major official clampdown against the party
involving widespread arrests has been going on in 1994, apparently in an attempt
to stop the extensive clandestine distribution of the banned Erk newspaper.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Russian, English or in your own language:
- calling on the authorities to clarify the whereabouts of Murad Dzhurayev
and Erkin Ashurov, and to release them immediately if they are not to be charged
with a recognizably criminal offence;
- calling on the authorities to guarantee the physical safety and well being
of Murad Dzhurayev and Erkin Ashurov, noting that the victims of "disappearance"
2
are especially vulnerable to torture or extrajudicial execution;
- calling on the authorities to put a stop immediately to all forms of harassment
and persecution of members of the Erk party who have sought peacefully to
exercise their fundamental human rights.
APPEALS TO
1. The President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov
Respublika Uzbekistan
g. Tashkent
pl. Mustakillik
Apparat Prezidenta
Prezidentu Karimovu
Telegrams:Uzbekistan, Tashkent, apparat Prezidenta, Prezidentu Karimovu I.A.
Faxes:+ 7 3712 39 55 25 or + 7 3712 39 54 00 or + 7 3712 55 10
Telexes:116116 BAHOR SU
Salutation: Dear President Karimov
2. Minister of Internal Affairs, Zakirzhan Almatov
Respublika Uzbekistan
g. Tashkent
ul. G. Lopatina, 1
MVD Respubliki Uzbekistan
Ministru Almatovu Z.A.
Telegrams:Uzbekistan, Tashkent, MVD, Ministru Almatovu Z.A.
Salutation:Dear Minister
3. Procurator General of Uzbekistan, Buritosh Mustafoyev
Respublika Uzbekistan
g. Tashkent
ul. Gogolya, 66
Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan
Generalnomu prokuroru Mustafoyevu B.
Telegrams:Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Prokuratura, Generalnomu prokuroru
Mustafoyevu B.
Salutation:Dear Procurator General
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, Saidmukhtar Saidkasymov
Respublika Uzbekistan
g. Tashkent
Ministerstvo inostrannykh del
Ministru Saidkasymovu S.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 19 August 1994.

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