Horezm-based activist thrown into mental hospital

Valeriy Eshankulov was missing between 7 December and 17 January
Valeriy Nazarov, an opposition Birdamlik movement activist in Horezm Region, has been found drugged with psychotropic substances in an unidentified place 40 days after he was reported gone missing.

Valeriy Nazarov went missing on 7 December, a day before a campaign by the Birdamlik movement in Tashkent in honour of the 20th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s constitution.

Since then neither his family, nor colleagues knew anything about his whereabouts. Some of them suggested that Nazarov might have been killed.

On 17 January after a campaign launched in the independent press by his colleagues, Nazarov was found. He simply turned up outside his home.

His colleagues from the Birdamlik movement Malohat Eshankulova and Shuhrat Rustamov who came to Horezm Region to see him said that they were shocked by the state of Nazarov.

“Nazarov was shaking and he had an unconscious look. He could not link two
words,” Rustamov said. “He said he did not remember anything and his mind
was messed up.”

According to Rustamov and Eshankulova, Nazarov was under the influence of strong psychotropic preparations.

“He might have been forcibly kept in a mental hospital in Urgench, suppressing his will with medications and his relatives were intimidated,” the activists suggested.

International examination

Before his disappearance Nazarov was planning to go to Tashkent to take part in the peaceful campaign Osh (Ommaviy Shodlik – Mass Joy), scheduled for 8 December outside the capital’s Alay market.

On that day Nazarov said over the telephone that his house had been surrounded by police and officers in plain clothes.

“Nazarov suggested he should escape from police by detour roads but I advised him to speak to police and ask what they want,” Eshankulova said.

After their conversation, communications with Nazarov stopped. His colleagues explained his disappearance by several theories – from house arrest in a stranger’s home to a death in a police chamber.

“We will demand a medical examination by international organisations,” Eshankulova said.

Valeriy Nazarov is one of activists in Uzbekistan who suffered from their intention to mark the country’s Constitution Day in Tashkent.

His colleague from Jizak Saida Kurbanova spent 15 days under house arrest, Malohat Eshankulov spent several days under house arrest in Samarkand Region and this list could be continued.

Uzbek authorities managed to prevent every participant from taking part in the Osh campaign in defence of the country’s basic law.