Uzbekistan: Journalist Dzamshid Karimov’s Detention Order Extended

The detention order on Dzamshid (Jamshid) Karimov, held under psychiatric detention since September 2006, has reportedly been extended for a further six months. English PEN believes that Karimov is held in retaliation for his reporting on human rights issues and for his criticism of the government. English PEN calls for his immediate and unconditional release and that the harassment and intimidation against him and his family cease.
Alarm was first raised about Karimov’s case in mid September 2006 when he went missing, to be found two weeks later in a psychiatric hospital in the Uzbek capital, Samarkand. His relatives were informed that he had been served with a six months detention order, although no reasons were given as to why, only that it was a “private matter”. In mid-April this year, hopes that he would be freed were dashed when his parents were informed that the detention order had been extended a further six months, and that he would not be freed before September 2007, by which time he would have been held for a year. The decision is said to have been delivered by a court, although it is reported that no formal documents or reason for the detention have been made available.
According to the Uzbek website UzNews, Karimov’s family doctors have previously admitted that Karimov has no psychiatric disorder but that it was beyond their power to order his release. It goes on to report that Karimov “was counting the days and hours left until his release [only to be] told that he had to wait a little until June or July because doctors knew that he would not be able to put up with another six months’ treatment”. His detention was reviewed in mid-March but it took a month for the decision to be made available. UzNews surmises that this may be because doctors were awaiting for instructions from higher officials.

Dzhamshid Karimov, who is a nephew of Uzbek President Karimov, is known for being an outspoken critic of the government, and for his reporting on socio-political issues. Shortly before his incarceration, in August 2006, Karimov’s family complained about the high levels of police surveillance at their home and demanded that listening devices be removed. This request was not met. At the end of August, the head of the regional administration allegedly visited Karimov and offered him a position on two state newspapers, an offer that was refused. It is thought that his relationship with President Karimov may be the reason why he is held in a hospital rather than prison.
To access the above mentioned UzNews article click here
Please send appeals:
–         Expressing deep concern for the hospitalisation of Dzhamshid Karimov in a psychiatric institution and calling for his release;.
–         Calling on the Uzbek government to do all that it can to respect freedom of expression, as recognised in the Uzbek Constitution, and to guarantee that cases like this will not occur again.
–         Urging the Uzbek government to comply with its obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory.
Islam A. Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Rezidentysia prezidenta
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaia 43
Fax: 998 71 139 5325

Rashidzhon Kodirov
General Prosecutor
Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan
Ul. Gulyamova 66, 700047
Fax: 998 71 133 39 17/133 73 68

Akmal Saidov
Head of the National Centre for Human Rights
Natsionalny tsentr po pravam cheloveka
5/3 Mustakillik Maidoni
Tashkent 700029
Fax: 998 71 139 13 56
It may be more effective to send appeals to representatives in London:

HE Mr Tukhtapulat Tursunovich Riskiev
41 Holland Park
London W11 3RP
Fax: (020) 7229 7029

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