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Uzbekistan: Human rights defenders Mr Uktam Pardayev and Mr Mamir Azimov denied exit visas
On 18 March 2012, Mr Uktam Pardayev was refused an exit visa from Uzbekistan. On 29 March 2012, Mr Mamir Azimov was temporarily refused an exit visa; to date no new information has been received on his application.
Uktam Pardayev is Chairperson of the Independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (IHRSU) in the region of Djizak. Mamir Azimov is Chairperson of the Djizak region of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU). Both defenders were previously denied exit visas from Uzbekistan in 2008- see Front Line Defenders' urgent appeal on this dated 28 July 2008 (https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/1515).
Uktam Pardayev and Mamir Azimov had both applied to the Otdel Viz I Registratsii (OVIR- Department of Visa and Registration) for exit visas as per state requirements for all citizens of Uzbekistan who wish to leave the country. Uktam Pardayev applied for an exit visa in December 2011 in order to travel to Germany. When he did not receive an answer to his application, he contacted the City and Regional Prosecutor's Offices and the Department of Interior Affairs in Djizak. On 25 January 2012, the City Prosecutor's office responded and Uktam Pardayev was subsequently interviewed by an unnamed National Security Service Officer at OVIR, who asked the defender about the type of human rights activities he was involved in.
On 7 February 2012, Utkan Pardayev received a letter from the Director of Djizak OVIR, stating that his request was temporarily denied. On 18 March 2012, the City Prosecutor's office sent a letter to Uktam Pardayev confirming the OVIR's decision and advising him to apply to the upper authorities should he wish to appeal the decision. An explanation behind the denial of an exit visa was not outlined in the letter. Mamir Azimov applied for an exit visa on 18 February 2012 in order to travel to Turkey. He received a letter from the Djizak OVIR on 29 March 2012, which stated that his application was being considered and that an exit visa from Uzbekistan was temporarily denied.
Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the denial of exit visas to human rights defenders Uktam Pardayev and Mamir Azimov, and the lack of explanations behind the refusals. Front Line Defenders believes that these actions are directly related to Uktam Pardayev and Mamir Azimov's work in defending human rights in Uzbekistan, and constitutes an attempt by the authorities to restrain their movements and prevent them from carrying out their legitimate and peaceful work.