For the first time, three countries from Central Asia will be members of the UN HRC. Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – each of which has serious human rights concerns – will join the other 44 members at this year’s opening session on 27 February.
The authorities in several Central Asian states have warned news outlets to tone down their coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or ignore it entirely.
Fazilhoja Arifhojaev was convicted of threatening public security by reposting and commenting on a social media post that had questioned whether it was appropriate for a Muslim to congratulate non-Muslims on their religious holidays.
Fazilhoja Arifhojaev faces charges of threatening public security based on an innocuous social media post commenting on whether it is appropriate for a Muslim to congratulate non-Muslims on their religious holidays.
RFE/RL’s Uzbek service, Radio Ozodlik, has this year published a series of high-profile investigations into the Uzbek government, and particularly into President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and his family’s wealth.
“Uzbekistan’s leadership have made lofty claims of putting respect for human rights at the center of ongoing reforms. But actions speak louder than words. Jailing an inconvenient blogger exposes the reality of the repressive environment for free speech in Uzbekistan today.”
New amendments introduce prison sentences for insulting or defaming the president, and making online calls for “mass disturbances”. Using the internet to “disrespect” the state will now be an offence.
Although the draft law contains some moderate improvements, it retains many provisions that violate the rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion. Others fall short of protections to which women, victims of torture, and LGBTQI+ people are entitled under international law.
Abdullaev faces charges of “offences against the president of the Republic of Uzbekistan” and “conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional regime,” each punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Uzbekistan releases its last remaining jailed journalists: Bobomurod Abdullaev and Hayot Nasriddinov
The journalists were arrested on charges of ‘conspiracy to overthrow’ the regime; Nasriddinov was acquitted of all charges, Abdullaev was found guilty of “extremism” and given a three-year suspended sentence.
Despite some encouraging signs that the president might be in favour of some press freedom, journalists continue to be targeted.
Yusuf Ruzimuradov was released in late February after serving 19 years in jail on ‘anti-state’ charges.
Uzbek authorities must ensure an impartial investigation into the alleged torture of detained journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev; he and other journalists jailed for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression should be freed immediately.
PEN International is extremely concerned about the well-being of Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev, who was detained by the National Security Services in Tashkent on 27 September 2017. Abdullaev is detained at the notorious pre-trial detention centre of the National Security Services, which has a long, harrowing track record of torture.