On March 26, 2010 it was exactly one month since human rights activist Nematillo Botakozuev was arrested in Tajikistan—meaning that the term of authorization for his detention has now expired.
Botakozuev has been refused permission to see a doctor or an lawyer, both of which are his legal rights. Despite the fact that he is seeking political asylum, the representative of the UNHCR Office in Tajikistan has also not been allowed access to him. Furthermore, the decision to extradite Butakozuev to his native country, Kyrgyzstan, remains in force, despite the fact that upon his return to Kyrgyzstan he will be threatened by torture. This situation requires the prompt intervention of international community so that Nematillo Botakozuev is no longer denied his human rights.
Nematillo Botakozuev, born in 1967, has been persecuted by law enforcement agencies of Kyrgyzstan since July 2004. He is a member of Human Rights Center “Justice-Truth” (Kyrgyzstan), and he actively cooperated with the famous journalist Alisher Saipov, who was assassinated in Osh, Kyrgyzstan on October 24, 2007. Botakozuev has been arrested three times on false charges in his native country. In October 2008 he went into hiding due to the further threat of arrest, since he has been accused of involvement in events of 2008 in Nookat, Kyrgyzstan, when the decision by the authorities to prohibit the celebration of the holiday Orozo Ait caused disorder and arrests. In February 2010 Nematillo Botakozuev requested international protection at the to Representative Office of UNCHR in Tajikistan.
According to reliable sources, law enforcement bodies of Kyrgyzstan have indicted Nematillo Botakozuev on six articles of the Criminal Code, meaning that he faces a prison sentence of 10 years.
All attempts on the part of legal defenders to see Botakozuev in prison have thus far failed. Furthermore he is being interrogated in prison in violation of required legal procedures. On March 25, officers of Tajik law enforcement bodies visited the houses of people who had spoken to Nematillo Botakozuev before his arrest. These people were threatened and forced to give testimony against both him and his brother, Mukhammadsalikh Mukhammadtokhir, who is also an asylum-seeker with UNHCR.
The Association “Human Rights in Central Asia” and public organization Uzbekistan Initiative–London are deeply concerned at the poor treatment in prison, and of the looming threat of extradition to Kyrgyzstan, of someone whose only crime has been to be active in the defense of human rights. We also condemn the prosecution of his family and friends of Nematillo Botakozuev. Tajikistan has acceded to various international treaties on human rights, and and we urge the government of Tajikistan to adhere to its assumed obligations.
For further information on Nematillo Botakozuev’s case please see attachments as of February 28, 2010 and March 15, 2010.