Reports of torture or other ill-treatment continued unabated. Dozens of members of minority religious and Islamic groups were given long prison terms after unfair trials. Human rights defenders continued to be imprisoned after unfair trials. The authorities forcefully rejected all international calls for an independent, international investigation into the mass killings of protesters.
Despite assertions by the authorities that the practice of torture had significantly decreased, reports of torture or other ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners continued unabated. In most cases, the authorities failed to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into these allegations.
Several thousand people convicted of involvement with Islamist parties or Islamic movements banned in Uzbekistan, as well as government critics and political opponents, continued to serve long prison terms under conditions that amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Uzbekistan again refused to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country despite renewed requests.
Closed trials started in January of nearly 70 defendants charged in relation to attacks in the Ferghana Valley and the capital, Tashkent, in May and August 2009 and the killings of a pro-government imam and a high-ranking police officer in Tashkent in July 2009. The authorities blamed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) and the Islamist Hizb-ut-Tahrir party, all banned in Uzbekistan, for the attacks and killings. Among the scores detained as suspected members or sympathizers of the IMU, the IJU and Hizb-ut-Tahrir in 2009 were people who attended unregistered mosques, studied under independent imams, had travelled abroad, or were suspected of affiliation to banned Islamic groups. Many were believed to have been detained without charge or trial for lengthy periods. There were reports of torture and unfair trials.
Human rights defenders and independent journalists were subjected to harassment, beatings, detention and unfair trials. Human rights activists and journalists were summoned for police questioning, placed under house arrest and routinely monitored by uniformed or plain-clothes officers. Others reported being beaten by police officers or by people suspected of working for the security forces.
The government continued its strict control over religious communities, compromising the enjoyment of their right to freedom of religion. Those most affected were members of unregistered groups such as Christian Evangelical congregations and Muslims worshipping in mosques outside state control.
The authorities briefly granted temporary shelter to tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbek refugees who fled violence in neighbouring southern Kyrgyzstan in June. The authorities allowed emergency teams from UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, access to Uzbekistan and the refugee camps, the first time since ordering the agency to leave the country in 2006. Security forces tightly controlled the movement of the refugees, including those injured and in hospitals, and their contact with the outside world. At the end of June all but a couple of thousand refugees returned to Kyrgyzstan amid concern that the returns were not genuinely voluntary and that Kyrgyzstani and Uzbekistani local authorities had put pressure on them.Top of page
Five years after the killing of hundreds of mainly peaceful demonstrators by the security forces in Andizhan on 13 May 2005, the authorities continued to reject all calls for an independent, international investigation. The lifting of sanctions by the EU was cited as evidence that the matter was now closed.
At the UN Human Rights Committee’s examination of Uzbekistan’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in March, the Uzbekistani delegation denied that human rights defenders were detained and persecuted. The delegation insisted that Uzbekistan’s “enemies” were waging an “information war” against the country and that international NGOs were paid to spread defamation and disinformation.Top of page