Prominent lawyer Pulatova detained in Tashkent

Following her detention on 18 December, Tursunoy Pulatova's whereabouts are unknown
Tashkent-based lawyer Tursunoy Pulatova was detained in Tashkent on 18 December and was placed in the detention centre in Mirabad district.

Judge Inobat Sabirova of the Mirabad district criminal court replaced a pledge not to leave the country with arrest.

This decision was taken after published an interview with Pulatova in 14 December about bureaucratic nuances of adopting an infant in Tashkent.

Pulatova represented the adopters and criticised bureaucrats who demanded consent from the infant who was only several months old.

In a telephone interview after detention Pulatova managed to say that she was taken to the Mirabad police department.

"I was not hiding from anyone, if I could not attend hearings because health condition, I sent them telegrams and confirmed them with medical documents.

Pulatova believes her detention is directly linked to criticism of Tashkent bureaucrats in the article about adoption.

Whereabouts unknown

The lawyer managed to say over the telephone that they were going to take her the city police department's detention centre.

Pulatova's children have not managed to check this information.

"With my brother I went to the Mirabad police department to see my mother and fulfil her request to take her bag with documents, a mobile phone and jewellery, but police did not allow it," her daughter Dilya said.

Dilya said she had followed a police car with her mother but officers noticed it and asked traffic police to stop Dilya's car.

Pulatova's mobile number is not answering now and her whereabouts are unknown to her children.

To save Pulatova

Tashkent-based human rights activists said Pulatova had really annoyed many officials, above all, judges in Tashkent.

Her complaints created problems for them and many judges lost their jobs.

She was involved in political cases many lawyers refused to take on, for example defending Angren-based rights activists Dmitriy Tihonov and spokesman for the UK embassy in Uzbekistan Leonid Kudryavtsev.

The leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, Elena Urlayeva, said that "Pulatova should be saved and given all-round support".

Charges brought against her entail a prison term of up to 10 years.