Persecution of human rights activist Gulshan Karayeva and her relatives in Karshi has driven them to desperation. On 1 December, they are going on a picket and are threatening with self-immolation. Their centenarian grandmother will join them too.
Gulshan Karayeva is in tears. The single mother, who is bringing up three children, one of them a son who was born handicapped, said she was exhausted and desperate.
Today she prefers to be tried alone because it is harder to watch Uzbek authorities destroy the life and family of her younger brother, Sanjar, because of her human rights activity, she said.
Sanjar and his wife, Zilola Pulatova, just as Gulshan, are under investigation. Since yesterday, they have been summoned to the Karshi town court where they are expecting to receive the judge’s verdict, which has been dictated to him.
A warrant on her landline and ordered her to come immediately to a trial that was opening against her.
She refused to go without receiving an official summons, and today, 28 November, a subpoena was delivered to her ordering her to appear in court as a defendant on 27 November.
The case against Gulshan Karayeva, Sanjar Karayev and Zilola Pulatova was a set-up. Two of their neighbours, Oydin Ortikova and her daughter Barno Adabayeva, picked a quarrel last summer by openly breaking branches of a tree growing by the Karayevs’ home.
In response to the Karayevs’ protests, the two women argued and called them “enemies of the people”. Shortly after this, they used their hands, and, then, the Karshi police quickly fabricate a case against the Karayevs.
Human rights activity
Gulshan Karayeva is a young and not indifferent woman. She is a sister of well-known journalist Tulkin Karayev, who now lives
|Gulshan's centenarian grandmother Bibisulov Alimardonova|
in exile in Sweden.
Since recent times, she has been cooperating with the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU). Shortly after this, she headed its Kashkadarya Region branch.
It is difficult to say that she is doing a lot as a human rights activist. But it is still a lot by today’s standards of suppressed and fearful Uzbekistan under Karimov’s rule.
She has not lost her dignity. She says what she thinks. She is not afraid of speaking out. She does not bow to policemen, mayors, prosecutors and security service (SNB) informers. She remains herself. And this is a lot.
Her reports from Kashkadarya are innocent. In winter, she reported that her town and region were left without gas and electricity. She speaks of what millions of other citizens of Uzbekistan see and experience every day. But she is one of few people who speak about this loudly.
Self-immolation is not a way out
“For seven months I have been bothered, I cannot tolerate this anymore,” Gulshan said speaking on the phone and crying.
But Gulshan must understand that what is happening to her is an objective consequence of a free person’s confrontation with the totalitarian system that only needs silent slaves.
Having fallen desperate, Gulshan and her relatives today wrote letters to local authorities in Karshi and notified them of their plan to stage a protest action on 1 December. The Karayevs’ centenarian grandmother, Bibisulov Alimardonova, will join the protesters.
This old woman said that she could not watch anymore how her grandchildren were suffering and she had no power to tolerate this injustice. She lost her husband during World War II and had to bring up her daughter alone, but now she is suffering for her grandchildren, who were called “enemies of the people”.
Gulshan bought vinegar and petrol to stage an act of self-immolation in the centre of Karshi on Saturday, hoping this way she could help stop the case against her brother and sister-in-law.
On the contrary, the death or injuries, which she might receive, will strengthen the regime. There will be one free person fewer in the land of slaves.
Children will lose their mother, the grandmother her granddaughter, brothers their sister, and we will lose a bright personality who is making Uzbekistan a better place just by her existence.
Uniting in defence of Gulshan is a way out. Every person who is not indifferent must do something to defend Gulshan Karayeva, her children and her family from the authorities’ persecutions.
One should do this not only for her sake, but for his own sake and his country which is Uzbekistan.