Three residents of Parkent District have been fined for an attempt to picket Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s residence and the action mastermind, human rights activist Elena Urlayeva, has been beaten up.
On 9 November, well-known human rights activist Elena Urlayeva and three residents of the town of Parkent in Tashkent Region whose relatives had been sentenced for “religious extremism” tried to hand over a complaint to President Islam Karimov.
The group of four, including Elena Urlayeva, Sherzod Husanov, Payziboy Yunusov and Tajiboy Salimov, approached the gate of the presidential residence located in the village of Durmen in Tashkent Region by a detour.
“Our relatives have been detained illegally and tortured and the Yukori-Chirchik District criminal court in the town of Yangibazar wants to issue an unjust sentence on 13 November,” the picketers said.
Near the presidential
|A young officer, who wrote a protocol, hit me with his fist in the head for my refusal to stand against the wall to be photographed and twisted my arms roughly to take away my camera"|
residence, they unfolded a placard reading: “We demand freedom for Gayrat Husanov, Shuhrat Yunusov and Dilshod Salimov!”
After this, they tried to pass a complaint to Islam Karimov through a policeman on duty, but were immediately detained by law enforcement officers and taken to the Kibray District interior directorate.
There they were called one by one for an interview to the office of the head of the district interior directorate, Lt-Col Shavkat Mavlyanov.
Hit in the head
Elena Urlayeva, the leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU), said she was treated "roughly": "A young officer, who wrote a protocol, hit me with his fist in the head for my refusal to stand against the wall to be photographed and twisted my arms roughly to take away my camera."
Urlayeva was smoked in the face and insulted with obscene words while flash memories of her mobile phone and camera were seized and all information contained in them was deleted.
The human rights activist said policemen changed their behaviour towards her only about five hours later and even promised to call a taxi for her to go home, but then only put her on a bus.
The three complainants from Parkent faced even more lamentable treatment. HRAU members learnt that they had first been taken to a police station in Parkent and, the following day, they were taken to the Kibray criminal court which sentenced them to fines.
HRAU activists are not yet aware of an article under which the picketers of the presidential residence were charged and the size of fines. Husanov, Yunusov and Salimov promised to come to Tashkent today, but they did not arrive for some reasons.
“Uzbekistan has persecuted criminally innocent people for many years just for their beliefs and performance of religious rites,” Urlayeva said.
Urlayeva said the activists from Parkent, Husanov, Yunusov and Salimov, marched to the presidential residence consciously to attract the president’s attention to the problem of “releasing all people who have been sentenced unjustly for religious reasons”.