On 11 December 2014 in "Uzbekistan" TV channel a propaganda film titled «Xiyonat», or "Betrayal" in translation from Uzbek, was broadcast. It featured individuals who applied for asylum in Norway asking for a refugee status.
Norway most often deports citizens of Uzbekistan. It is a known fact that on their return to their country of origin, they are tortured and accused of perjury against Uzbekistan, forced to testify publicly against themselves, announced to be members of "extremist groups" and openly referred to as "traitors to the Motherland."
Below are the details of the deported citizens of Uzbekistan by Norway and a brief summary of the propaganda film.
1. Asadulla Xayrullayevich RIXSIYEV, born in 1986, originally from Tashkent. He graduated from the Information Technology University in 2007. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he was sentenced to. According to the authors of the film, while in Norway, he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group”. In front of the camera, Rixsiyev stated that he met an Iranian man called Nadim who campaigned to support Muslims fighting the “infidels”.
According to Rixsiyev, he came to Norway only to work and help his family financially. He said that he was met by unknown people and on their advice, he claimed asylum. He deceived the Norwegian immigration service. To obtain refugee status, Rixsiyev claimed that he was gay. The Criminal Code of Uzbekistan contains Article 120 which provides for punishment of up to three years of imprisonment for "Sodomy".
2. Zafar Salim ogli KARIMOV, born in 1985, originally from Tashkent. He has a diploma of higher education. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.
Karimov said he came to Norway to work. He was met by unknown people and was told to contact the immigration service and claim asylum in order to obtain a work permit. And they recommended to him to change his name.
3. Davron Axrolovich RAHMONOV, born in 1984 originally from Tashkent. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.
He came to Norway to work. He was met by unknown people and was advised to contact the immigration service claiming that in Uzbekistan, he was a gambler, lost a large sum of money, and if he retuned back, he "will be put on the blades." He had a fake passport in the name of another person, and used it to send home the money he earned.
4. Ahmadjon Muhammadjonovich XOLIQOV, born in 1980, originally from Tashkent. He is educated to a secondary level. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.
He came to Norway to work. On the advice of the organisers of his visit, he told the immigration service that in Uzbekistan the authorities found 1.2 kilograms of drugs on him and he was threatened with arrest. According Xholiqov, he deceived the Norwegian authorities to obtain free housing and the right to work. When the Norwegian authorities found out that he had a false Romanian passport, he was arrested and deported 100 days later.
5. Shuhrat Qodirovich ILHOMOV, born in 1977, originally from Tashkent. He is married and has two children. Educated to secondary level. It is not indicated what he is accused of or how long he is sentenced to. The authors of the film claim that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.
Ilhomov said that he travelled to Norway in order to earn money. On the advice of the people who helped him to travel to Norway, he deceived the immigration service. Ilhom claimed to be gay in order to be allowed to stay in Norway to work legally.
6. Jahongir Qochqorovich TOJIYEV, born in 1984, originally from Tashkent. He is married and has two children. The authors of the film alleged that he became a member of an unnamed “religious extremist group” in Norway.
Like the other characters in the film, Tojiev came to Norway to work. He claimed asylum to be eligible to live and work legally in Norway. And he was sure that no one will know about it in Uzbekistan.
• Summary of the content of the film
For 35 minutes, the filmmakers present their version of the story of 8 men who lived in Norway for a while. The characters in the film come to Norway to work, using the procedure provided by the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951. Six of them were convicted; their term of sentences was never specified. Two others say that they reported to the Uzbek law enforcement agencies about their arrival from Norway, the reasons for approaching the immigration service and what they were doing there. (All of them are ordinary citizens and do not have high-ranking patrons in a corrupt country).
The characters of the film claim that, only after returning home, they realized that they betrayed their homeland. In Norway, they did not work on Fridays and attended the mosque. From time to time, they gathered and watched movies found on the Internet about the suffering of Muslims in countries where there is war. That is why they transferred part of their earned money to support those Muslims.
All of them, in tears, repented and asked for forgiveness of the Uzbek people for the fact that they gave "false statements against Uzbekistan" in Norway, where they violated the Uzbek and Norwegian laws. And they "regret that mistakenly joined extremist organisations (none of the convicted specified which extremist organisation), and betrayed their homeland."
Ilhom Azamov and Temur Zoitov, characters of the film, claim that they learned about the above mentioned 6 men «took a wrong turn, and betrayed their country». Azamov and Zoitov lived in Norway too. They were in contact with the “traitors”. But, they returned to Uzbekistan on time. They turned themselves in, confessed their mistakes and reported the “traitors”. According to them, Uzbekistan is a “humane state and forgives repenting citizens”. They were forgiven and now they enjoy their freedom.
Authors of the film and the "experts" pathetically ask: why does Norway take in the "criminals", including the "extremists"? They do not understand why Norway has become a country which creates conditions nurturing religious extremist organisations. They are convinced that real criminals are going to Norway to obtain papers and then travel to Muslim countries. They even come back to Uzbekistan disguised as deportees in order to carry out “extremist activities” in their home turf. But, unlike Norwegian counterparts, “Uzbek authorities are able to prevent such crimes”.
- Results of our monitoring
According to our organisation, more than 18 deportees from Norway in 2014 are in custody and under investigation in Uzbekistan. It is very difficult to establish their real names, as almost all of them have distorted their names, date and place of birth. Often, applicants from Uzbekistan seek asylum on the second passport, which is produced in Uzbekistan at the request of the loss of the first one. In the second passport they indicate another transcription of their name or last name and thus obtain the documents of a foreign country under a different name. Often, using such a passport, Uzbek citizens obtain Russian citizenship. On the details of the Russian passport they obtain a visa to a European country. Then using Uzbek passport, they apply claim asylum. This practice is known to the immigration services of Western countries. Statistics show a large number of persons providing false information, a basis on which their application is rejected. Deportation cases occur more often.
Norway establishes the nationality of the applicant whose application for asylum was rejected by its Embassy in that country. In cases of citizens of Uzbekistan, it relies on the Embassy in Riga. Norwegian request for information is receved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Security Services. And as a citizen arrives from Norway, he is certainly detained at the airport by the Department of Transport of the Prosecutor's Office. Then he is questioned by counterintelligence officers of the National Security Services. During the interrogation, he is shown pictures of citizens living abroad for a long time, mostly religious or civil society activists. He may be also shown photos of protesters or political refugees.
Uzbek citizens seeking a job in Norway regularly enter the country with passports containing distorted names (as mentioned above). In Uzbekistan there is a group of swindlers who promise employment abroad. This business is working. Criminal chain is as follows: in Tashkent there is hub for client wishing to work in Norway. The customers are met by other crooks on arrival in the country of destination. They lead them to a refugee camp, after telling them how to deceive the immigration officers. In Norway, the business involves even the translators of the Immigration Service. The most of affected by this scam named someone called Nargiza (we could not establish her full name). Uzbek refugees tried several times to expose scams and Uzbek provocateurs in Norway. But the criminals learned about their intentions and threatened to inform the National Security Services of Uzbekistan about their exact location in Norway and the reasons for leaving the country. Given that the refugees have family member living in Uzbekistan including elderly parents, the investigation stopped.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA urges Norway to abide by the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and change the practice of working with refugees, namely:
- Stop the forcible return of Uzbek nationals to their country of origin, where torture is systematically used and there is no independent judiciary;
- Do not stamp with the Uzbek passport with a mark containing words “deportation”. Members of the Uzbek government bodies use this mark as an excuse to extort bribes from citizens of Uzbekistan, bringing charges of perjury against the state and "betrayal of the homeland";
- Do not inform the Embassy of Uzbekistan about citizens who claimed asylum, even if their application is rejected, or it is proven that they violated the administrative order.
We urge to review all cases of applicants from Uzbekistan, in respect of whom the decision has been taken to deport them, especially if their details are already known to the Embassy of Uzbekistan. They are under a risk of torture.