Exiled Uzbek opposition leader exposes secret activity of recently arrested journalist
Muhammad Salih, the chairman of the opposition People's Movement of Uzbekistan (NDU), unexpectedly stated on 3 October that the arrested independent journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev and the scandalously known "political scientist" Usman Haknazarov are the same person.
Muhammad Salih makes a statement about the journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev. Photo by Ozodlik Radio
«Bobomurod Abdulla worked for the British Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), the Internews media organisation, and also collaborated with other publications under the pseudonym Usmon Khaknazarov», said Muhammad Salih. "Yes, the humble sports commentator Bobomurod Abdullayev, detained last week by the National Security Service of Uzbekistan, is the same legendary Usman Haknazarov.
His articles provoked excitement in the press and were the most popular publications during the rule of President Karimov. In the post-Karimov period, he published a dozen articles exposing the sources of the billions of the Uzbek National Security Service head, Rustam Inoyatov, and corruption schemes of the special services.
He warned the new president of Uzbekistan about sabotaging his liberal initiatives on the part of the National Security Service (SNB). We have abundant evidence that this particular structure is the main opponent of reforms in the country. Bobomurod Abdulla (Usmon Haknazarov) sympathised with the new leader of the country and naively thought that exposing the criminal nature of the SNB, helps the president in rebuilding the rotten regime.
We have serious suspicions that SNB tortures Bobomurod Abdulla (Usmon Haknazarov) in their facility with the use of psychotropic drugs. We base our suspicions on the testimonies of the opposition activists who passed through this isolator.
We are not afraid that he will be imprisoned for a long time. We are afraid for his life. We are afraid that he will suffer the fate of other opponents of the regime and enemies of the National Security Service - religious figure Abduvali Mirzaev and Abdulla Utayev, opposition democrat Shavruk Ruzimuradov, writer Emin Usman and many others. They were all murdered.
Bobomurod Abdulla (Usmon Haknazarov) printed his articles exclusively in the publication of the People's Movement of Uzbekistan emphasising his opposition to injustice and lack of freedom. He lived all these 14 years of underground fighting under the enormous pressure of a sense of caution, in anticipation of an imminent arrest. It happened.
Bobomurod Abdulla was not the enemy of a certain official, any minister or even the chairman of the same sinister SNB. He was an enemy of a system of totalitarian origin. Bobomurod Abdulla lived and fought, as they say, keeping his head under his arm. And when the leadership of the country changed, Bobomurod Abdulla saw that the new leader was trying to do something for the people, and he, without hesitation, began to support the initiatives of this leader.
However, Bobomurod Abdulla's dedication did not save him, the predatory system precisely against which he had fought all these years imprisoned him in the cellar».
The articles of Usman Haknazarov have been appearing on the Internet for more than ten years, the last years the NDU website Uzxalqharakati.Com published them. In 2013, the Radio Liberty website published an article, in which, among other things, it said that Muhammad Salih receives his articles on the Internet. Here is a small fragment of this material.
«The article by Usman Haknazarov is also received by the leader of the Uzbek opposition, Muhammad Salih, who lives in Turkey. That's what he thinks about the mysterious exposer of Islam Karimov's secrets.
- I do not know who this person is, but I know his creative biography. He, since 2000, actively published, then disappeared for four years, then reappeared. Our positions converge at certain points, so he sends us his articles, and we print. But we do not know who is behind this name - one person or a collective work. In style, we can say that even if the article is prepared collectively, one person edits.
- Apparently, only a person from Karimov's inner circle or someone who hears it, an intelligence officer, can know this information.
- I think so too. Such information can come from the closest associate of Karimov or from the service that protects Karimov.
- Or special services of another country. For example, Russia?
- There is also a probability, but it is not so big. I think it's from the inside.
- Do you absolutely trust what Haknazarov writes?
- 90 percent of what he writes, it seems to me the truth. There are moments where he exaggerates when he details the text; then he can add from himself some strokes to the portraits of those or other personalities. But the main events and facts are correct. At first, the public looked at his articles with suspicion. After a while he was always right, the events that happened after his articles confirmed his rightness».
44-year-old Bobomurod Abdullayev is an independent journalist. Over the years, as a sports columnist, he comments on football competitions; participates as an independent expert in the discussions of Ozodlik Radio - the Uzbek service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. Previously, he was the creator and project manager of Ozod Ovoz / Free Voice, a correspondent for the British Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and participated in media projects of Internews International.
On 27 September 2017 officers of the National Security Service of Uzbekistan arrested and put him in a pretrial detention facility (SIZO). But relatives became aware of this arrest only two days later when they came to the house of Abdullayev with a search. It lasted six hours; as a result, they took desktop, books, disks and flash cards away.
Fergana learned from its sources that on Sunday, 1 October, a court secretly approved Abdullayev's arrest in Tashkent under charges of «infringements on the constitutional order», which implies up to twenty years of imprisonment. What exactly illegal actions the journalist allegedly committed is still unknown. 28 human rights organisations, members of the international «Platform for Civil Solidarity» (Civicsolidarity.org), issued a statement demanding the immediate release of Bobomurod Abdullayev.
Fergana News Agency