Abdullo Tojiboy-ugli, the human rights campaigner who once attempted to stand as a candidate in Uzbekistan’s presidential election, mounted a protest outside Tashkent’s town hall on 20th February demanding that the heating in his house be reconnected.
The campaigner had submitted advance notice of his day-long picket demanding the restoration of heating and power supplies to his home, and he expected to be detained or otherwise obstructed by law-enforcement agencies as he left home.
“In the morning, there was a police car near my home and I was sure that I was going to be arrested,” says Tojiboy-ugli.
But things transpired entirely differently to his expectations. He reached the town hall without any problems, and
|Receipt proving Tojiboy-ugli has paid all his municipal utility bills|
went into reception to announce that, as per his advance written notification, he intended to begin his protest.
Tajiboy-ugli told municipal officials about his problems, and, to his surprise, they promised to help.
Law-enforcement agents were equally accommodating.
“At the town hall the local anti-terrorism chief, Mr Bakhti, met me and proposed a ‘peace agreement’; if I didn’t protest with my placard outside the town hall, they would put my gas and electricity back on, as they are legally obliged to do.”
According to Tojiboy-ugli, all his energy bills were paid in advance in August last year and he has no outstanding debt to the communal utility companies. In spite of this, he has endured a freezing winter in his home, as gas and electricity supplies have been illegally withheld, he believes, because of his human rights activities.
The human rights campaigner has faith in the promises made by the police officer. But he says if the authorities fail to keep their word and restore his gas and electricity supplies, his protest will be back on.