Uzbek migrant worker hangs himself in custody in Moscow

Central Asian migrants workers in Moscow
Abdusamat Fazletdinov, 19, who has been under extradition arrest in Moscow’s detention centre No 4, has committed suicide after being interviewed by special service officers from Uzbekistan.

The suicide took place in the morning of 9 December because of psychological stress caused by Uzbek special service agents’ threats, who visited the detention centre two days earlier, the Memorial human rights centre has reported.

During the interrogation of five Uzbek citizens, these officers openly threatened to pull off their fingernails and to put them to other tortures. To prove their words, they showed pictures of people whose faces had traces of brutal beating.

All of the five Uzbek citizens, Abdusamat Fazletdinov, Rahmatulloh Muhammadhujayev, Avazbek Nizamov, Olim and Hakim Djalalbayev, are from one neighbourhood in the town of Namangan and came to Russia to make a living.

On 15 November 2012, migrant workers wanted to fly to Tashkent, but were detained in Moscow’s Vnukovo airport after it was established they were on international wanted list under part 2 of Article 244 (involvement in banned extremist organisations) of the Criminal Code

Law-enforcement bodies of Uzbekistan accused the five men of being Hezb ut-Tahrir members and allegedly funding the activities of banned extremist organisations.

The Memorial report about the young migrant worker’s suicide caused mixed opinions among Tashkent-based human rights activists.

“Going abroad to make a living, our citizens grossly risk catching the attention of Uzbek special services, which have to meet a target to detain [alleged] extremists,” said Surat Ikramov, the head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Activists of Uzbekistan (IGIHRAU).

In Ikramov’s opinion, a citizen, especially a young man, whose whereabouts is unknown, ideally fits the role of an extremist in an imaginary case.

Upon his return home, an unsuspecting young man is reported as detained as a result of serious operational measures and is forced to sign a “confession” after which a kangaroo court sentences him “to the fullest”.

“Therefore, embarking on a trip to make a living, future migrant workers should write a statement to their local administrations or a district police officer, reporting of where he is going, why and for how long,” Ikramov said.

Ikramov is sure that this kind of statement will rule out the possibility of a migrant worker’s “involvement” in a made-up case about extremists because it is problematic to add a man on the wanted list when this man has officially reported his whereabouts.
“Otherwise a migrant worker has no guarantees while it is favourable for Uzbek authorities to make an impression on the global community that the country is fighting with a big number of extremists,” Ikramov said.