Posted 2008/3/18

Uzbekistan:Torture of human rights defender Yusuf Juma, his sons, and threats against human rights lawyer Ruhiddin Kamilov

Front Line is deeply concerned following reports of the continued torture and ill-treatment of imprisoned human rights defender and writer Yusuf Juma and his sons Bobur and Mashrab Juma. Yusuf Juma is a prominent writer and pro-democracy activist in Uzbekistan. Yusuf, Bobur and Mashrab Juma were arrested in the Tashkent region in mid-December 2007 and are all detained in the Otbozor Prison in the Bukhara region of Uzbekistan. Yusuf and Bobur Juma's lawyer, Ruhiddin Kamilov, has been threatened by the prison governor.

Further Information

Posted 18/03/2008 Yusuf, Bobur and Mashrab Juma have reportedly been subject to physical abuse, in the form of beatings, and verbal abuse on a daily basis at the hands of prison authorities since their arrest in mid-December 2007. When Dr. Vahid Karimov from Bukhara's Medical Law Centre was recently allowed to examine Yusuf Juma he was reportedly ordered by the prison governor, Samad Shukurov, to revive him when he fainted due to continuous torture. Dr Vahid Karimov found Yusuf Juma to be suffering from heart and respiratory problems as well as having sustained injuries due to regular beatings, and said that his condition gave rise to concern. Yusuf and Bobur Juma are also reportedly being denied access to food and the means to write letters, as well as prevented from meeting with their lawyer, Ruhiddin Kamilov.

Yusuf Juma was arrested along with his son Bobur Juma on 22 December 2007 after staging a protest against the arrest of Mashrab Juma, who was reportedly detained on trumped-up charges, in the run-up to the re-election of President Islam Karimov, in an attempt to silence his father. In January 2008 Mashrab Juma was sentenced to three-year imprisonment. Yusuf and Bobur Juma have been charged under two articles of the Criminal Code with “insulting” and “resisting representatives of power”. Yusuf Juma has been openly critical of President Islam Karimov in his writings.

Yusuf and Bobur Juma's lawyer, Ruhiddin Kamilov, has been the victim of acts of intimidation. He was reportedly told by the prison governor, Samad Shukurov, that he and Yusuf Juma were serving the interests of US imperialism. Samad Shukurov also personally threatened Ruhiddin Kamilov that he was to die soon.

Front Line believes that Yusuf, Bobur and Mashrab Juma have been arrested and charged, and Ruhiddin Kamilov the subject of acts of intimidation, as a result of Yusuf Juma's human rights activities, in particular his work to promote democracy and freedom of expression in Uzbekistan. Front Line is deeply concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Yusuf, Bobur and Mashrab Juma while in prison.

Action Update Needed. Before taking further action on this case please contact info@frontlinedefenders.org for further information