Tue, Jul

political prisoners
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The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA), International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) are relieved to have learned that Kadyr Yusupov, a former diplomat, has been released after he was arbitrarily imprisoned for five and a half years following deeply flawed and unfair proceedings.

We call on the Uzbekistani authorities to ensure Yusupov’s protection following his release and to launch an effective, transparent and impartial investigation into allegations that he was arbitrarily detained and tortured in detention and grant him redress and compensation for the rights violations he has suffered, in line with the calls of international human rights bodies.

Kadyr Yusupov - who previously worked in Uzbekistan's embassies in Austria, the United Kingdom, Sudan, and Middle Eastern countries, as well as in Uzbekistan's Permanent Missions to the UN and the OSCE, was convicted on charges of treason (under Article 157, Part 1 of the Criminal Code) in January 2020 and sentenced to five and a half years in prison following an investigation and closed trial that fell short of international fair trial standards. He was released on 10 June 2024 after serving his full sentence. Following his release, Yusupov will be held under administrative supervision for a year, during which time he will be subjected to restrictions on his movement and participation in public events.

Yusupov was first arrested on treason charges in December 2018. The charges against him appear to have been based on a statement he made during a psychotic episode, when he was undergoing medical treatment following a failed suicide attempt. Whilst in hospital, suffering from brain trauma and clearly confused, Yusupov reportedly said that he had been a spy for the West.

There are credible allegations that state security officers repeatedly threatened Yusupov in pre-trial detention, saying that he, his wife and daughter would be raped unless he confessed to the accusations. Yusupov was also allegedly denied essential medication and treatment in pre-trial detention. He filed complaints about his treatment with relevant government agencies. However, on 3 June 2019, the Prosecutor General’s Office responded that they did not find any evidence of abuse.

Following his conviction in January 2020, Yusupov first served his sentence in the KIN-4 penal colony in Navoi (southwest Uzbekistan), where he was allegedly subjected to torture and held in deplorable detention conditions that seriously endangered his health and well-being. He was subsequently transferred to the KIN-42 settlement colony in the Zangiata district of Tashkent region, where he was for the last two and a half years prior to his release.

In May 2021, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) issued a decision, finding Kadyr Yusupov's detention to be arbitrary and in violation of Uzbekistan’s international human rights obligations. It called on the Uzbekistani authorities to release him immediately and provide him with adequate compensation. However, to date, the Uzbekistani authorities have taken no steps to implement the recommendations of the WGAD.

Other UN bodies and procedures have also raised concern about Yusupov’s case, including the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on health in a joint letter from July 2019, the UN Committee against Torture in its concluding observations on Uzbekistan adopted in November 2019, and the UN Human Rights Committee during its review of Uzbekistan in March 2020. These bodies have, among others, called on the Uzbekistani authorities to examine the allegations of torture and ill-treatment made by Yusupov and bring the perpetrators to justice.