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HRW Documents Uzbekistan's Torture Of Political Prisoners

Based on court documents and extensive interviews, a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) finds that those jailed in Uzbekistan on politically motivated charges are subjected to torture and abysmal prison conditions. HRW says Uzbekistan has one of the world’s worst human rights records and has unlawfully imprisoned thousands of people for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression. HRW spoke with more than 150 people, including 10 recently released prisoners. Here are the stories of some of those prisoners. (Captions by HRW)

Opposition politician Murod Juraev was arrested in 1994. Authorities have extended his sentence four times for so-called “violations of prison rules,” including “peeling carrots incorrectly.”
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Opposition politician Murod Juraev was arrested in 1994. Authorities have extended his sentence four times for so-called “violations of prison rules,” including “peeling carrots incorrectly.”

Yodgoroi Yuldasheva is the wife of imprisoned spiritual leader Akram Yuldashev. Authorities accuse him of organizing the Andijon protests of May 2005, even though he has been imprisoned since 1999 on other politically motivated charges. Authorities refuse to disclose his current whereabouts.
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Yodgoroi Yuldasheva is the wife of imprisoned spiritual leader Akram Yuldashev. Authorities accuse him of organizing the Andijon protests of May 2005, even though he has been imprisoned since 1999 on other politically motivated charges. Authorities refuse to disclose his current whereabouts.

Bobomurod Razzakov, 61, is the head of the Bukhara office of Ezgulik. He was arrested on fabricated charges of human trafficking and sentenced to four years in prison in September 2013.
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Bobomurod Razzakov, 61, is the head of the Bukhara office of Ezgulik. He was arrested on fabricated charges of human trafficking and sentenced to four years in prison in September 2013.

Seventy-five-year-old rights activist Turaboi Juraboev was sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 and suffered torture in custody before being amnestied.
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Seventy-five-year-old rights activist Turaboi Juraboev was sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 and suffered torture in custody before being amnestied.

Writer and opposition figure Mahmadali Mahmudov was released in 2013 after serving over 14 years on trumped-up charges of extremism. He suffered torture and had his sentence extended in prison.
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Writer and opposition figure Mahmadali Mahmudov was released in 2013 after serving over 14 years on trumped-up charges of extremism. He suffered torture and had his sentence extended in prison.

Rights activist Gulnaza Yuldasheva was imprisoned in July 2012 on extortion charges after conducting an investigation into officials’ involvement in human trafficking.
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Rights activist Gulnaza Yuldasheva was imprisoned in July 2012 on extortion charges after conducting an investigation into officials’ involvement in human trafficking.

Farkhodkhon Mukhtarov and his wife, Surayo, five days after his release from prison in December 2010. His release came one day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly promised to raise cases of imprisoned human rights activists with President Islam Karimov during a visit to Tashkent.
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Farkhodkhon Mukhtarov and his wife, Surayo, five days after his release from prison in December 2010. His release came one day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly promised to raise cases of imprisoned human rights activists with President Islam Karimov during a visit to Tashkent.

Kayum Ortikov is a former employee of the British Embassy in Tashkent who was tortured to extract a confession of espionage for the U.K. Released in 2009, he fled Uzbekistan and now lives in the United States with his family.
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Kayum Ortikov is a former employee of the British Embassy in Tashkent who was tortured to extract a confession of espionage for the U.K. Released in 2009, he fled Uzbekistan and now lives in the United States with his family.

Imprisoned spiritual leader Akram Yuldashev allegedly confessing on Uzbekistan’s state-controlled television to organizing the May 2005 protests in Andijon. His family has not heard from or seen him for three years.
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Imprisoned spiritual leader Akram Yuldashev allegedly confessing on Uzbekistan’s state-controlled television to organizing the May 2005 protests in Andijon. His family has not heard from or seen him for three years.

Erkin Musaev served in the Ministry of Defense and then the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) before being imprisoned on espionage charges in 2006.
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Erkin Musaev served in the Ministry of Defense and then the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) before being imprisoned on espionage charges in 2006.

Imprisoned since 2010, authorities repeatedly hid journalist Solijon Abdurakhmanov from representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross when they tried to visit him in Karshi prison.
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Imprisoned since 2010, authorities repeatedly hid journalist Solijon Abdurakhmanov from representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross when they tried to visit him in Karshi prison.

Since 2005, Fahriddin Tillaev has advocated for workers’ rights in southeastern Uzbekistan. He was arrested in 2014. Authorities stuck needles between his fingers and toes to force him into a false confession for human trafficking. He is serving an eight-year sentence in Navoi prison.
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Since 2005, Fahriddin Tillaev has advocated for workers’ rights in southeastern Uzbekistan. He was arrested in 2014. Authorities stuck needles between his fingers and toes to force him into a false confession for human trafficking. He is serving an eight-year sentence in Navoi prison.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Muhammad Bekjanov (seen here in his Kyiv apartment circa 1998) and a colleague, Yusuf Ruzimuradov, both of whom were jailed in 1999, have been in prison for longer than any other journalists worldwide.
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According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Muhammad Bekjanov (seen here in his Kyiv apartment circa 1998) and a colleague, Yusuf Ruzimuradov, both of whom were jailed in 1999, have been in prison for longer than any other journalists worldwide.

Dilmurod Saidov is an investigative journalist known for his muckraking reports on corruption. Saidov suffers from tuberculosis and is imprisoned near Karshi. His brother, Obid, told Human Rights Watch that his brother “is no longer living, but merely existing."
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Dilmurod Saidov is an investigative journalist known for his muckraking reports on corruption. Saidov suffers from tuberculosis and is imprisoned near Karshi. His brother, Obid, told Human Rights Watch that his brother “is no longer living, but merely existing."

Authorities should have released imprisoned rights activist Ganikhon Mamatkhanov in March 2014 but extended his sentence for unspecified “violations of prison rules” following a closed hearing.
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Authorities should have released imprisoned rights activist Ganikhon Mamatkhanov in March 2014 but extended his sentence for unspecified “violations of prison rules” following a closed hearing.

Following the May 2005 Andijon massacre, Isroiljon Kholdorov spoke to international media about mass graves in Andijon. Uzbek authorities later kidnapped him in 2005 from neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where he had fled for safety, brought him back to Uzbekistan and imprisoned him. He is serving a 10-year sentence, but his relatives fear his sentence could be further extended.
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Following the May 2005 Andijon massacre, Isroiljon Kholdorov spoke to international media about mass graves in Andijon. Uzbek authorities later kidnapped him in 2005 from neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where he had fled for safety, brought him back to Uzbekistan and imprisoned him. He is serving a 10-year sentence, but his relatives fear his sentence could be further extended.

Before his arrest and torture by authorities in 2014, Nuriddin Jumaniyazov headed the Tashkent chapter of the Union of Independent Trade Unions, which protects the rights of labor migrants.
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Before his arrest and torture by authorities in 2014, Nuriddin Jumaniyazov headed the Tashkent chapter of the Union of Independent Trade Unions, which protects the rights of labor migrants.

Azam Farmonov has been tortured repeatedly since his arrest in 2006. He is currently held at Jaslyk prison. UN bodies and several governments have called for Jaslyk to be closed after repeated allegations of torture.
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Azam Farmonov has been tortured repeatedly since his arrest in 2006. He is currently held at Jaslyk prison. UN bodies and several governments have called for Jaslyk to be closed after repeated allegations of torture.

Yuldash Rasulov is a rights activist from Karshi currently imprisoned on charges of “threatening the constitutional order” and “membership in a banned religious organization.”
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Yuldash Rasulov is a rights activist from Karshi currently imprisoned on charges of “threatening the constitutional order” and “membership in a banned religious organization.”

In 2013, Ferghana Valley-based activist Nematjon Siddikov was arrested after his family was assaulted at home by unknown assailants following his investigation into local police corruption. He was sentenced to six years but later released under amnesty.
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In 2013, Ferghana Valley-based activist Nematjon Siddikov was arrested after his family was assaulted at home by unknown assailants following his investigation into local police corruption. He was sentenced to six years but later released under amnesty.

An eyewitness to the Andijon massacre, Dilorom Abdukodirova fled in 2005 to Kyrgyzstan, then Australia. In 2010, after returning to Uzbekistan to reunite with her husband and children, authorities arrested her at the Tashkent airport, prosecuted her on charges of “extremism,” and sentenced her to 10 years. Abdukodirova suffered ill-treatment in custody. In 2012, authorities extended her sentence by an additional eight years.
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An eyewitness to the Andijon massacre, Dilorom Abdukodirova fled in 2005 to Kyrgyzstan, then Australia. In 2010, after returning to Uzbekistan to reunite with her husband and children, authorities arrested her at the Tashkent airport, prosecuted her on charges of “extremism,” and sentenced her to 10 years. Abdukodirova suffered ill-treatment in custody. In 2012, authorities extended her sentence by an additional eight years.

Rights activist Chuyan Mamatkulov, imprisoned in Navoi, photgraphed with his two children in Kashkadarya Province.
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Rights activist Chuyan Mamatkulov, imprisoned in Navoi, photgraphed with his two children in Kashkadarya Province.

By the time of his arrest in 2009, rights activist Gaybullo Jalilov had collected information on over 200 arrests of independent Muslims in his native province of Kashkadarya. He is currently serving an 11-year sentence in Navoi prison.
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By the time of his arrest in 2009, rights activist Gaybullo Jalilov had collected information on over 200 arrests of independent Muslims in his native province of Kashkadarya. He is currently serving an 11-year sentence in Navoi prison.

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