International Partnership for Human Rights welcomes news that citizen activist Turaboy (also known as Nabijon) Djurabaev has been released from prison in Uzbekistan. Our partner group the International Human Rights Association Fiery Hearts Club has learned that Djurabaev was released on 29 December under an amnesty act adopted on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of Uzbekistan’s Constitution.
75-year old Djurabaev was arrested in May 2013 and sentenced to five years in prison in August 2013 on charges of large-scale extortion and fraud. A resident of Galljaaral’sky district in the Djizzakh province, Djuarabaev has been speaking up about injustice, corruption and mismanagement among local authorities and his imprisonment is believed to have constituted retaliation for his civic activism. The charges levelled against him are among those most frequently used to punish critics in Uzbekistan. He was serving his sentence in a prison facility in the city of Navoi.
Djurabaev’s wife, Feruza Mamatova has also reported being subjected to intimidation by local law enforcement authorities because of her efforts to publicize information about the case against her husband. According to Djurabaev, a criminal case on defamation was opened against her around the time of his release, giving rise to concern about continued harassment of the couple.
More than two dozen human rights defenders, journalists and opposition figures remain imprisoned in Uzbekistan. Similarly to earlier amnesty acts, the one adopted this time contains a provision saying that prisoners who have “systematically violated” the prison regime are ineligible for release, even if they would otherwise meet the conditions for amnesty. Accusations of alleged violations of prison rules are frequently used to penalize and prolong the sentences of those imprisoned on political grounds, thus also preventing them from qualifying for amnesty. The terms of the amnesty do not provide for the overturn of convictions.
International Partnership for Human Rights continues to call for the release of all individuals who have been imprisoned for their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly and other fundamental rights in Uzbekistan.
For more information about the cases of Turaboy Djurabaev and other independent civil society actors in Uzbekistan, see:
28/10/13 Uzbekistan: The EU should press for end to persecution of independent civil society voices
28/10/13 Briefing paper to the EU: Unrelenting persecution of civil society in Uzbekistan