Uzbekistan: Russian and international organizations are defending the arrested activist
In the beginning of March of 2009 there will be a trial over the head of Amu Darya basin inspection of Uzbekistan State biological control, Makset Kosbergenov. We already reported that Makset was arrested in the mid-December, 2008 and accused of receiving bribes in the amount of two million sum ($1300) in cash and “fish” value.
In the telephone conversation with the author of this text, the lawyer of the defendant Marat Hozhametov was very cautious and refused to give any comments, referring to the secret of the inquest. The prominent Karakalpak journalist and public figure Valentin Bochin is affirmed that the legal affair against Makset is faked-up. “When Makset attainted big group of poachers among the locals the video, dedicated to this case, was even broadcasted by the Tashkent TV channel. Four inspectors of State committee for environment of Karakalpakstan got their sentences while the local public prosecutor A. Abdullaev lost his chair. The insulted agency decided to pay back the debt to M. Kosbergenov”.
The local lawyers also view the accusation of Mr. Kosbergenov as a fact of avenge while the fact of crime is unproved.
Who is Makset Kosbergenov and why he is hated by some groups in the law enforcement bodies? “The political credo” of Maksat is to strive to save the remaining parts of flora and fauna of Aral area, dying without water. He holds unique record of capturing those who violate the environmental protection law. After long judicial examinations Makset was back to the Republic of Karakalpakstan Department of forestry. Alone, he captured more poachers than twenty of his subordinate employees. His well argued articles in Uzbek official press and Internet were dedicated to the problem of saving the bio-resources of the region. He is obstinate and undesirable man, but Makset is the best expert in the republic.
Information about the arrest of Makset Kosbergenov produced sharply negative reaction by public organizations in Europe and Russia. Saiga Conservation Alliance international organization is outraged by the arrest of Makset. International Socio-environmental Union (ISEU) directed open letter to the President Islam Karimov. Not relying into the justice of upcoming trial, ISEU writes “…we rely on your principal position in fighting the corruption and that under your control the public prosecution office and law enforcement bodies will disclose provocateurs and exculpate Makset Kosbergenov who was always protecting the state interests of Uzbekistan”.
ISEU co-chair Valeriy Brinih gives the following comments:
- We would not like to see that under color of fighting the corrupted officials honest and faithful people, like Makset Kosbergenov, are removed from the state service system and that anti-corruption measures turned into putting it across servants, unwanted by true corrupted officials.
In the message to Mr. Karimov, the Kostroma ecologists, representing the CIS public organizations alliance “For biological protection”, note the following: “We have serious reasons to believe that the accusations are a part of provocation and avenge, organized by the poachers from the number of highly ranked local officials. If the provocation turns out to be successful this will severely affect not only the environmental protection services of Uzbekistan, but also its international image in general”.
The administration of the President Karimov still receives the letters from the representatives of established international organizations. The defenders of Makset do not want him to serve 10 year sentence for unsubstantiated accusation. The heads of state committee for environmental protection and state biological control of the Republic of Uzbekistan do not give any official comments. The representatives of Ecological movement of Uzbekistan, which gained seats in the parliament, are also silent. One of the movement spokesmen even told us “We are not involved in the politics…”.
Sergey Naumov (Urgench, Uzbekistan)