Opposition party assembly in Tashkent behind mop up of human rights activists

Erk urges followers not to bow and not to be chained
The opposition Erk party was planning to hold a conference in Tashkent on 14 November, but the majority of its delegates were detained. Human rights activists, who had nothing to do with it, were also detained.

Erk Party Secretary General Atanazar Arifov said that, on 13 November, he and other party members planned to hold a party conference in Tashkent.

“About two dozen party activists were expected to attend it, but an overwhelming majority of them were ‘blocked’ by police,” Arifov said.

Some activists were summoned to police; some were blocked in their homes while some were simply detained on the street.

“The place of the meeting of party members near one of the Bunyodkor underground station exits in Tashkent was surrounded by police yesterday morning while a nearby cafe where the conference was to be held was cut off from gas and power,” Erk leaders said.

In addition to Erk party members, police also detained two human rights activists, Abdullo Tojiboy-ugli and Shuhrat Rustamov, in Tashkent on 14 November.

Tojiboy-ugli recently joined the Erk party and could have been invited to the conference, while Rustamov had nothing to do with the party.

“I am only a member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, so I am going to file a complaint about my unlawful detention,” Rustamov said.

According to the human rights activist, police took him to the Shayhantahur district interior directorate on 14 November without explaining reasons for his detention.

“I had the impression that policemen themselves did not know why they had been ordered to take me to the interior directorate,” Rustamov said.

A similar incident happened to Tojiboy-ugli. He was taken to the Chilonzor district interior directorate under the pretext that a complaint had been received against him.

“But in fact there had been no complaint and policemen held political discussions with me just to kill time,” Tojiboy-ugli said.

The human rights activists were detained in two separate parts of the city after 9 o’clock in the morning and were released after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.