In a statement issued today, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee together with Amnesty International, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Human Rights Watch and International Partnership for Human Rights calls on the authorities in Uzbekistan to investigate claims of torture and ill treatment of Rashitjon Kadirov, who served as prosecutor general for 15 years, and his co-defendants.
“While Tashkent has taken several positive steps to improve Uzbekistan’s human rights situation in recent years, torture, among other issues, remains a challenge. We call on Uzbek authorities to implement meaningful measures to secure any and all citizens from torture and ill treatment — and to consider the human rights community a resource in this process”, says Marius Fossum, The Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s regional representative in Central Asia.
Authorities detained Kadirov in February last year on a range of charges including embezzlement and abuse of power. Since his detention credible reports of torture and other ill treatment of Kadyrov and his co-defendants have seeped out of Uzbekistan. Kadirov told one eyewitness that he had been placed in a cell with other prisoners who beat him under orders from prison officials. He also told the eyewitness that officials held a pistol to his head in a bid to extract a forced confession. Furthermore he reported to the eyewitness that officials subjected him to sleep deprivation, threatened to kill him as well as to falsely charge him with a murder. Kadirov also said he was forced to watch as prison officials beat his son in law.
In the joint statement the groups underlined that torture, at all times and under any circumstances is a violation of international law, and called on the Uzbek authorities to launch a thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the alleged torture and ill treatment and, if evidence of torture is uncovered, bring to justice all officials complicit.