On 19 December 2014 based on information from an unknown caller, in Istanbul, a leader of the opposition movement «Group 24» Umarali Kuvatov was detained.
Umarali Izatovich Kuvatov, was born on 21 November 1968 in the city of Dushanbe. He is citizen of Tajikistan, married, has children. He is an entrepreneur.
In 2013 he applied for asylum via the UNHCR, his application is still pending.
From 2001 to 2012 U. Kuvatov in cooperation with Shamsullo Sokhibov, the sun in law of the President Imomali Rakhmon worked on shipment of fuel to the NATO base in Afghanistan. As a result of a conflict with Sokhibov, he had to leave the country and became a member of the opposition.
In 2012 Kuvatov became a leader of the «Group 24» movement, which campaigns for stopping the President of Tajikistan.
In 2014 Tajikistan announced the «Group 24» an «extremist organisation».
About 8:30 AM, 7 plain clothed men stormed into the house in Istanbul where Umarali lives with his family. They asked him to identify himself after which they lead away him and other three members of the «Group 24», who were in his house, without any explanation. His house was searched and appliances and a large number of documents relating to political activity of the leader were seized.
It later became known that Kuvatov was taken into custody by the agents of the Turkish Security Forces (Istanbul gayrettepe asayis sube mudurlugu hirsizlik buro amirligi) on the basis of an anonymous call. It is still not identified who or where the call came from. During his interrogation, Kuvatov leaned that his capture was relayed to the Embassy of Tajikistan in Turkey. The Consul offered to help Kuvatov, but he expressed his mistrust to the government of Rakhmon. The detainees are still not legally represented. A representative of the UNHCR has not appeared yet.
In a short while, the detainees will be transferred into a department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, because they found some irregularities in their registration in Turkey. These are administrative violations. According to Kuvatov, the Turkish Security Service agents are treating them in accordance with rules and they have not been accused of anything other than the registration irregularities.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia — AHRCA calls on the Turkish authorities to fulfil their obligations under UN Convention on Status of Refugees UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to comply with the procedural rules of Turkish law, namely:
— provide legal representation of the detained asylum seeker of the UNHCR Umarali Kuvatov three other citizens of Tajikistan: Hussein Ashurov, (01. 02. 1981.), Sukhrob Turaev (24.11.1978.), Abdurashid Khamidov (15.12.1989.);
— allow the UNHCR representative to meet the citizens of Tajikistan Hussein Ashurov, Sukhrob Turaev, Abdurashid Khamidov as they asked to meet him fill out an application for international protection;
— observe the principle of confidentiality in respect of the UNHCR applicants, in this case Umarali Kuvatov, in accordance with the obligations of Turkey under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia — AHRCA also sent its report about the detention of the leader of the "Group 24" Umarali Kuvatov and other participants: Hussein Ashurov, Sukhrob Turaev, Abdurashid Khamidov to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the office of UNHCR representative in Turkey and the head office of the UNHCR in Geneva, as well as international human rights organisations: HRW, "Amnesty International" and others.