Freed Jizak-based human rights defenders face pressure

Jizak-based human rights activist Saida Kurbanova
Two Jizak-based human rights activists, Saida Kurbanova and Nuriniso Holbayeva, who spent 15 days under arrest last December, have now faced pressure from police.

What do the Jizak police want from the two human rights activists? None of these women can answer this question, but asked their colleagues and other people to protect them.

Saida Kurbanova and Nuriniso Holbayeva, who are also active members of the opposition Birdamlik movement in Jizak Region, were arrested on 7 December and sentenced to 15 days in prison for “disorderly conduct”.

The authorities’ goal was to prevent them from taking part in Birdamlik’s campaign scheduled for 8 December to mark the 20th anniversary of the Uzbek constitution in the capital of Tashkent.

Kurbanova and Holbayeva were released on 21 December and since that day police in Jizak have been demanding that they fully report on their every movements, work and meetings.

Since 5 January, the deputy head of the Pahtakor District police department in Jizak Region, Akmal Jahanov, has been demanding through his subordinates that the women come to an interview with him.

But Kurbanova and Holbayeva have refused to do this, demanding official summons and reasons for this from the police chief.

Infuriated by their refusal, Jahanov on 7 January called Saida Kurbanova and, in a voice full of threats, reminded her of promises she gave him in jail.

Nuriniso Holbayeva, who is also facing pressure from police, said that a beat officer tried to force her into Jahanov’s room on 7 January.

But she stumbled over and fell on the floor and the desperate beat police officer left her alone.

The following day, both human rights activists observed that they were shadowed outside their homes.

Colleagues of the human rights activists believe that their freedom is under threat as local police are likely to have received an order to reduce their human rights and political activity to zero.