Uzbek authorities open criminal case against opposition leader’s father
A former farmer from Kashkadarya Region, Hasan Choriyev, the father of Birdamlik opposition movement leader Bahodyr Choriyev, has been accused of slander.
The 70-year-old Hasan Choriyev was first deprived of his farm and expelled from his home. Now a criminal case has been launched against him under Article 139 of the Criminal Code “Slander from selfish and other bad motives”, which provides for imprisonment.
“Authorities in Kamashi District have definitely promised me that I will spend three years in jail,” Choriyev said.
The criminal case was instigated against him early in September and his trial was expected to be held on 12 October, which Choriyev decided to ignore.
The Choriyevs disliked
Authorities in Kashkadarya Region have for a long time been angry with Hasan Choriyev for his adherence to his principles and independence, but things have been aggravated by the fact that he is the father of Birdamlik opposition movement leader Bahodyr Choriyev.
“Let your son quit Birdamlik and then everything will be fine, if he does not, you will be jailed - this is what the district mayor told me,” Hasan Choriyev said.
His son, Bahodyr, and the majority of his family immigrated to the USA from where he manages Birdamlik, an opposition movement that promotes non-violent political struggle.
Hasan Choriyev explains the events that have been happening to him for the past several years by the authorities’ vengeance.
Choriyev used to work as an inspector in the regional water supply department, but after his retirement he occupied himself with farming.
The Kamashi District administration allocated 34 ha of land for him. But with no access to irrigation water, the land was “dry”. It was impossible to grow wheat on the land and the authorities officially allowed him to run a livestock farm instead of growing wheat.
The farmer’s troubles startedas far back as in 2010 when his power transformer with an electricity meter and receipts kept inside it were stolen.
“I do not think the transformer was stolen without the authorities’ involvement because in November 2011 a criminal case was opened against me on charges of stealing electricity,” Choriyev said.
The farmer was billed 23 million sums (about $8,500), as if he used electricity 24 hours a day for three years without paying anything for it.
But Choriyev said that this was not true as he paid regularly and it was impossible to use electricity 24 hours a day because electricity was supplied only two hours a day in Kamashi District.
At the same time, a debt of 2.5 million sums was “imposed” on the farmer for using water though irrigation water is supposed to be free of charge for everyone in Uzbekistan.
In January 2012, he was deprived of his farm as well. It did not take long to find a reason. The regional administration “forgot” about its own decision on the livestock farm and accused Choriyev of “failing to grow wheat”.
All of his farm constructions were pulled down by a bulldozer and no compensation was given for that. All of his livestock were driven away.
Complaining to authorities is no use
Choriyev is a man of principle and, therefore, he complained to all competent bodies possible about the unlawful actions the authorities committed against his farm. But all of his complaints led to predictable consequences.
“Authorities accused me of blackmailing them saying that I added extra cows to the 16 that were taken away, and opened an administrative case of slander,” Choriyev said.
The farmer was already expelled from his small house that was given to him by the water supply department after his retirement.
Meanwhile, the passport department in Shahrisabz, where Choriyev’s wife lives, took her passport supposedly to change it three months ago but she has not been given a new one.