Abdullayeva then filed a cassation appeal which was finally rejected by the Supreme Court on 10 February 2023. The hearing was marked by numerous procedural violations, including the following:
● The Supreme Court’s referred to non-legal acts as the basis for its decision, such as the mayoral decision on eviction instead of a legislative act or regulation.
● The decision violates national law, namely article 53 of the Constitution which establishes that private property, like other forms of property, is inviolable and is under the protection of the state; articles 7 and 32 of the Law "On property in the Republic of Uzbekistan" provide that the owner can be deprived of his/her property only in cases and in the manner provided by law - that Uzbekistan ensures the constitutional rights of the owner, and does not allow forcible seizure of property. Moreover, article 7 of the Law “On the Protection of Private Property and Guarantees of the Rights of Owners” establishes that in the relationship of the owner with state bodies, the principle of priority of the rights of the owner applies, according to which all contradictions and uncertainties arising in connection with the implementation of the rights to private property set out in law are to be interpreted in favour of the owner. In addition, according to articles 4 and 5 of the Urban Planning Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the urban planning activities of legal entities and individuals should be limited if they impede and encroach on rights and legitimate interests of the owners and users of these plots of land.
● The Supreme Court failed to consider the argument that the municipality’s decision was unlawful because the owner's opinion was not sought beforehand. As justification the Court stated that this question is out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
● The Supreme Court rejected Abdullayeva’s claim that her property was not initially included in the allocated area to “Training Project” but was later unlawfully added, referring to the opinion of the Administration of Architecture and Construction of Tashkent and to the written statements from the Ministry of Construction. According to the Supreme Court the statements of both authorities are “reasonable and convincing” because these bodies possess “the necessary qualifications and competences”. The Supreme Court ignored a letter from the Ministry of Justice which stated that the allocation of land to “Training Project” was made without legal permission. After assessment of the compliance of the processes preceding the decision of the municipality with legal requirements, the Ministry of Justice declared the demand of “Training Project” for allocation of land unfounded.
● From the Supreme Court’s arguments, it is clear that the topographic map of the allocated land to “Training Project” was made after the municipality’s allocation decision. In the architectural plan there are two different maps regarding the disputed land area. In the first one Abdullayeva’s property on S.Azimova St., 3 is not included in the land allocated to “Training Project” but the map included the carriageways of streets, particularly S.Azimova St. 4.
In the second, adjusted, map the carriageways of streets are excluded from the land allocated to “Training Project” but Abdullaeva’s property is included. The Supreme Court argued, based on a letter of the Ministry of Construction, that the first map was only preliminary and that the ‘definitive’ second map, and its adjustments were made by the Chief Architectural and Planning Department without changing the size of the plot of land, which makes it lawful. Additionally, the Supreme Court referred mainly to non-legal acts (such as the letter from the Ministry of Construction) in order to judge the lawfulness of the architectural plan.
● Regarding compensation the Supreme Court also decided, based on state technical expertise, that the value of the proposed alternative apartment on Tepakurgan St., 2 in Yunusabadsky district, Tashkent (64,600 EUR) corresponded to that of the value of Abdullayeva’s property on S. Azimova St., 3 (86,000 EUR). However, this conclusion was based on cadastral documents and a state technical expertise and not conducted by a professional real estate evaluator as established by law. An independent market value calculation, commissioned by Abdullayeva with the private company UHY Appraisers, estimated the value of her flat to be more than double: 2.381.587.655 UZS (193.000 Euro).
Thus, the apartment offered by the developer as alternative accommodation falls far short of being of equivalent value to Abdullayeva’s previous flat and cannot be considered as adequate compensation. Furthermore, Abdullayeva was not consulted as to whether the new flat‘s location was suitable for her and her child's needs. The Company “Training Project” also lodged a complaint against Abdullayeva for “unauthorised occupation of a plot of land”, which was rejected by the Supreme Court on the grounds that after the Abdullayev family’s eviction, the plot of land will be available again.
With this final decision from the Supreme Court from 10 February 2023 all national remedies have been exhausted and AHRCA and IPHR are concerned that Olga Abdullayeva and her family are at imminent risk of a forced eviction from their property. At the time of writing, Abdullayeva still considers her eviction unlawful and has not accepted the alternative accommodation offered by the company “Training Project”.
Olga Abdullayeva has written dozens of complaints to various instances: the judiciary, the Prosecutor's Office, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Virtual Office of the President of Uzbekistan and a number of public organisations. The Constitutional Court, the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman all issued opinions in support of Olga Abdullayeva in 2020, concluding that her house was not on the list reflected in the Tashkent City Council decision and therefore was not subject to demolition. However, the conflicting party, represented by the developer, used falsified and forged documents, as well as false witnesses, in order to obtain the area in the city centre where Olga Abdullayeva's house is located.
Olga Abdullayeva has now exhausted all legal remedies and is in imminent danger of forced eviction. In this regard, the intervention of the international community and authoritative public and political figures is extremely important.
This case deserves the attention of investors and investment companies as it illustrates the risks and consequences of the lack of guarantees to private property in Uzbekistan.
Recommendations to Uzbekistan:
— Uzbekistan should comply with its international commitments, including those to the right to private property under the framework of the EU GSP+ trade scheme.
— Uzbekistan should protect the right to adequate housing and take steps to restore justice to Olga Abdullayeva.
— Uzbekistan should carry out evictions only as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives have been explored and and in compliance with international standards, inter alia to carry out genuine consultation with the people affected, give reasonable notice, making all plans transparent and informing all those affected, providing alternative housing, compensation and access to legal support.