Karshi-based rights activist Karayeva threatened with court case

Gulshan Karayeva
This morning, Karshi-based human rights activist Gulshan Karayeva started receiving phone calls from the town court demanding that she should urgently appear for her trial.

The Karshi town court today intends to start legal proceedings against Gulshan Karayeva, the head of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan’s (HRSU) branch in Kashkadarya Region.

Court officials have been telephoning her home number since this morning, demanding that she should urgently appear in the court, but she has refused to go there without an official summons.

The human rights activist is accused under two articles of the Criminal Code: 139 – “Slander” and 140 – “Insult”.

The Karshi town police department, which opened this case, believes that Karayeva slandered and insulted two female residents of the town, Oydin Ortikova and her daughter Barno Adabayeva, by assuming that they were prostitutes.

Karayeva said the case was fabricated against her and police used the aforementioned women as provocateurs.

Following the scandal staged by the women, Karayeva said, police opened a case against her brother Sanjar Karayev and his wife Zilola Pulatova. They were also called to the trial today, but they were given a warrant yesterday.

Three parts

The case involving the Karayevs and their neighbours Oydin Ortikova and Barno Adabayeva, which was opened thanks to Karshi police efforts, is a commonplace quarrel, but proved to be divided into three parts in the court.

The Karshi town court intends to hold a separate court hearing for every group of litigants in the case.

Today’s hearing heard the behaviour of Oydin Ortikova and Barno Adabayeva.

The court found that Barno Adabayeva had also violated the law, namely, Article 52 of the Code of Administrative Offences, “Infliction of light bodily injury”, for which she was fined two minimum monthly wages, about 143,000 sums (nearly $50 at the black market rate).

Sanjar Karayev and his wife are accused of violating article 109 of the Criminal Code “Intentional infliction of light bodily injury”, which provides for a stricter punishment - a fine of 25 minimum monthly wages, up to one year of corrective labour or up to four years of imprisonment.

The task is to punish

Human rights activist Nodir Ahatov from Karshi, who has observed how the case against Gulshan Karayeva and her family developed, has said he is convinced that his colleague is suffering because of her human rights activity.

“I fear for Gulshan’s and her relatives’ future, as the regime does not tolerate any defeat, so there is a minimal chance that they will be acquitted,” Ahatov said.

Speaking about the fact that the case brought against the Karayevs was totally fabricated, the human rights activist does not think it is worth even discussing details of the case.

“They want to punish the Karayevs, there is certain pressure,” Ahatov summarised.

Gulshan Karayeva has been put under pressure by the authorities for a long time. Provocations against her have included attacks, insults and intimidation through relatives.

On 20 May, Karayeva woke up to find her fence inscribed with various insulting words and pictures by unknown people.

Human Rights Watch believes that pressure put on Karayeva is an attempt to silence the critic of the authorities.