The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia received by e-mail a message marked “SOS” stating that Malokhat Eshankulova, head of the Birdamlik movement in Uzbekistan, is seriously ill.
Further, the statement said Eshankulova has been poisoned by the Uzbek authorities, has great difficulty moving around and is rapidly losing weight – 15 kg in recent months. Recently, Eshankulova traveled to Samarkand to visit her mother, in order to say goodbye to her before death.
Soon afterward, we were sent an Internet link to a petition addressed to the embassies of the countries of the European Uniondisseminated by Galima Bukharbayeva, the editor of the site Uznews.net:
The author of the petition asks diplomats to provide medical assistance to Eshankulova, and calls on people of good will to show solidarity by signing the petition.
Such alarming news has provoked serious concern, therefore our representative in Uzbekistan visited Malokhat Eshankulova. The meeting took place in the Birdamlik Movement office. Eshankulova was there with her daughter. Indeed she did look thin and explained this as due to a liver ailment. She admitted that she had not gone to Uzbek doctors and prefers care from a physician living in Turkey. Eshankulova did not state that the Uzbek authorities had poisoned her, and did not present any documented conclusions from doctors about poisoning.
Experts of our Association have not found persuasive the claims of Eshankulova in her statement that she was poisoned in revenge for her political activity, and have found it inappropriate and pointless to accuse someone of a crime. Eshankulova has long been undergoing stress, which might provoke her emotional reaction or even panic. Therefore, we do not believe that she is deliberately lying.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia is an independent organization and reserves the right to verify information received, to provide a legal evaluation and freely express its opinion.
We do not believe it is necessary to comment on emotional evaluations. We remind our opponents that intolerance to criticism and heightened self-regard lower trust in their statements.