Detained Uzbek Journalist in Extremely Poor Health
International PEN joins Amnesty International in its call for the release of Uzbek journalist Ulugbek Abdusalamov, imprisoned since June 14, 2010, for his writings. He is in extremely poor health and there are concerns that his continued imprisonment puts his life at risk.
On August 3, Amnesty International issued the following Urgent Action. PEN calls on Members and supporters to send appeals following AI’s recommended action:
Prisoner of conscience Ulugbek Abdusalamov is not receiving adequate medical care in Kyrgyzstan... In 2009 he had a cerebral haemorrhage; he suffers from high blood pressure, stomach ailments and a heart condition, and requires constant medical care. He should be released, or at least be hospitalised.
Ulugbek Abdusalamov had been transferred to a regional hospital on 29 June, after six requests by his lawyer. On 9 July, he was returned to police detention in the city of Jalal-Abad. Ulugbek Abdusalamov’s health continued to suffer and, at the insistence of his lawyer, on 24 July he was taken back to hospital where he was treated under police guard. Amnesty International has been told that subsequently he has been transferred back to the police detention centre.
Although suspects should legally be held in a pre-trial remand prison, there is no such facility in Jalal-Abad, so Ulugbek Abdusalamov was returned to the police detention centre where conditions are said to be very poor.
Despite requests by Ulugbek Abdusalamov's lawyer to have him transferred to house arrest, due to his poor state of health, the terms of his detention have not been changed. The arrest warrant extends until 14 August.
Ulugbek Abdusalamov is a prominent member of the Uzbek community in the Jalal-Abad region of southern Kyrgyzstan, and Chief Editor of the regional Uzbek newspaper Didor (Meeting, in Russian). He was detained on 14 June on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred” under Article 299 of the Kyrgyzstani Criminal Code and transferred to a police detention centre in the town of Jalal-Abad two days later.
The Jalal-Abad prosecutor's office has stated that the charges against Ulugbek Abdusalamov have been brought during an investigation into a violent incident which took place in the A. Batirov University in Jalal-Abad town on 19 May. However, Ulugbek Abdusalamov was not in Jalal-Abad, but working in the capital, Bishkek, that day. The authorities have also claimed that two articles published by Ulugbek Abdusalamov in his newspaper warrant the charge brought against him. Amnesty International has seen both articles and believes that neither constitutes incitement to ethnic hatred.
Amnesty International is concerned that following the violence in the south of the country which began on 10 June members of the ethnic Uzbek community have been disproportionately targeted by the Kyrgyzstani security services who are conducting investigations into the June violence. Credible reports suggest that human rights defenders, journalists and members of the civil society have been and are being harassed, detained and ill-treated, leading to forced confessions.
Write A Letter
- Calling on the authorities to release journalist Ulugbek Abdusalamov immediately and unconditionally;
- Urging them to ensure that Ulugbek Abdusalamov receives all medical attention he may require, including hospital treatment;
- Calling on them to allow human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists to carry out their work without the threat of harassment or obstruction by the authorities.
Send Your Letter To
Minister of Internal Affairs
Frunze Street, 469
Fax: +996 312 68 20 44
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Minister
72, Orozbekova Street
Fax: +996 312 66 54 11
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear General Prosecutor
Please send a copy of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Kyrgyzstan in your country if possible.
Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN if sending appeals after September 14, 2010: ftw[at] pen.org