18 november 2018

Central Asia news

Lawyer, who met with Bobomurod Abdullayev in custody, refuses to represent him

30.11.2017 20:51 msk


Bobomurod Abdullayev
Tulkun Orifzhanov, one of the lawyers of journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev, reportedly refused to defend him further due to health reasons. Surat Ikramov, the chairperson of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan (IGNPU), informs about it in his message to Fergana News.

Orifzhanov is the only lawyer who was allowed to see Abdullayev after his detention at the end of September this year. As reported, the lawyer was admitted to the journalist in the SIZO (pre-trial detention centre) of the National Security Service (SNB) on 14 November. He was able to communicate with his client about an hour. During the conversation with Orifzhanov, Abdullayev said that he has no complaints.

On 16 November, Sergei Mayorov, another lawyer, provided the SNB with his statement and order to represent Abdullayev in his case. After two days, he requested the SNB investigators to appoint him a meeting with the client. However, despite numerous complaints, he still fails to see his client.

Starting from 1 October, Munozhat Parpieva, the lawyer, has been trying to meet with the journalist in custody, but unsuccessfully too. In early November, she complained about the actions of the SNB investigators to the Prosecutor General's Office, where her complaint was transferred to the head of the investigation department of the SNB.

As reported, Abdullayev has another lawyer appointed by the state, but he is involved in the case formally, according to the human rights activists.

SNB officers had detained 44-year-old Abdullayev on 27 September this year and kept him incommunicado for two days. The court probed his arrest secretly on 1 October. But relatives became aware of this fact only two days later when SNB officers came to the house of Abdullayev seizing his computer, books, disks, and memory cards.

On 1 October, a closed trial of Abdullayev took place in Tashkent, where he was charged under Article 159-4 of the Uzbek Criminal Code ("encroachment on the constitutional order"), which can lead up to 20 years in prison. The journalist is suspected of preparing and disseminating "biased and slanderous materials" under the pseudonym "Usman Haknazar" starting from 2011, recruiting people ready to support the overthrow the current government of Uzbekistan, and developing the programme "Reaping" for a revolution and forcibly overthrowing the country's constitutional system.

For many years, Abdullayev as a sports analyst commented on football competitions; participated as an independent expert in the discussions of Ozodlik Radio. Previously, he was the creator and project manager of Ozod Ovoz/Free Voice, was a correspondent for the British Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and participated in the media projects of Internews International.

The arrest of Abdullayev had caused a widespread furore. The United Nations, the OSCE, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch spoke in defence of the journalist. Human rights defenders are convinced that the case of Abdullayev is politically motivated.

Further, 28 human rights organisations, members of the international "Platform for Civil Solidarity" (Civicsolidarity.org), issued a statement demanding the immediate release of Abdullayev.

Before his arrest, he collaborated with the Fergana News, more about it in the material "Uzbekistan: New conference with old zindan at background."

Fergana News Agency