Release jailed Uzbek ex-envoy: HRW
Uzbekistan has been called to release a retired envoy charged with treason who has been detained since December, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
Kadyr Yusupov quit the Foreign Ministry 10 years ago and is due to face trial on June 17. The rights group called for a probe into allegations of torture during the 67-year-old’s time in custody.
“Uzbekistan’s government is pursuing reform in some areas, including by issuing a decree to ban the use of torture,” said Steve Swerdlow, HRW’s Central Asian researcher. “But no amount of progress on paper can be successful when the rule of law is blatantly disregarded, and people are in practice subject to torture.”
During his 27-year career, Yusupov was the Uzbek head of mission to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) among other positions. After his retirement in 2009, he published analysis on Uzbek foreign and domestic policy, leading to the current charges of treason.
Yusupov was arrested in hospital, where he was being treated after an apparent suicide attempt.
The former diplomat’s lawyer and relatives were refused access to him for nearly five months after his arrest and the authorities pressured Yusupov to reject legal representation.
Visits were only allowed after international media coverage of Yusupov’s incarceration.
Yusupov’s relatives claim that two security agents entered his cell two or three times a day and threatened that if he did not admit his guilt, they would rape him using a rubber baton, rape his wife and daughter, and arrest his two sons, one of whom lives overseas.
His family claims that he was denied access to prescription medication and that Temur Yusupov, Yusupov’s younger son, was prevented from leaving Uzbekistan at the Kazakh border.
In November 2017, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree prohibiting the courts from using evidence obtained with torture.
“There are serious allegations, including torture, denial of access to medication and counsel, and harassment of Yusupov’s family, that should be investigated immediately,” Swerdlow told the media. “Under international law and Uzbekistan’s own domestic framework, no prosecution can be built on torture. Yusupov should be released and those who ill-treated him brought to justice.”
HRW said other political prisoners who had been subjected to torture included academic Andrei Kubatin, who had been held since 2017, and ex-soldier Ravshan Kosimov, who had been detained since 2009.
Despite a change of president, Uzbekistan remains deeply repressive. Picture credit: Eurasia Times