- For defenders
- How can I help?
Uzbekistan-Update: Ongoing harassment of human rights defender Ms Gulshan Karaeva and her family
On 4 August 2012, Ms Gulshan Karaeva's brother and his wife were summoned to the City Department of Interior Affairs in Karshi in connection with a violent attack on them perpetrated by neighbours.
Gulshan Karaeva also attended the meeting, where in addition to the investigation officer, two other men whom she recognized as National Security Service (SNB) officers were present.
On 19 July 2012, Gulshan Karaeva's sister-in-law was passing through her yard when she saw two neighbours, a mother and a daughter, one of whom is believed to have links with the SNB, cutting down a tree on her property. Upon asking her neighbours why they were cutting down the tree, the women started to shout at her and then physically attacked her, including biting her on the thigh and scratching her face. On hearing the screams of his wife, Gulshan Karaeva's brother went out to separate the women, and was also injured. Their daughter of nine years was also beaten while her arms were held behind her back. Furthermore, the assailants verbally harassed the family, calling out that they “need to be ruined as a family of enemies of the people”, referring to Gulshan Karaeva and her brother in exile in Sweden.
There has been no let-up in the harassment of Gulshan Karaeva since it began in May 2012, and her colleagues and family members have also been targeted. These acts include a picture of her and a male colleague being doctored on Photoshop to make it appear as if they had an intimate relationship and then being shown to her colleagues' wife. In addition, in what is suspected to be an attempt by the SNB to entrap Gulshan Karaeva, unknown people visited her and her colleague asking for protection from governmental bodies. Also, when Gulshan and her children were out of Karshi for several days, her partner and the father of her children was called to the SNB and ordered to provide information on the whereabouts of Gulshan and the children. He was instructed not to tell anybody about the meeting.
Furthermore, on 21 May, a young man chased Gulshan Karaeva, first walking and then running after her in the street, until she went to her acquaintances' house and asked them to see her home. Since the attacks, intimidation and harassment against Gulshan Karaeva began in May, she has been afraid to leave her home, fearing further harassment and attacks, and has had to undergo medical treatment because of her weakened health condition.
Harassment of Gulshan Karaeva started in May 2012 after she published a statement declaring that she had been approached by an SNB officer and declined a proposal to work for the SNB as an informant. On 19 May 2012, she was attacked by two unidentified women and beaten on the head and other parts of the body, and that night, threatening and humiliating graffiti was drawn on her and her neighbours' gates. For further information concerning these incidents, please see Front Line Defenders urgent appeal, dated 22 May 2012 (Uzbekistan – Fear for safety of human rights defender Ms Gulshan Karaeva and her family, in wake of physical attack followed by series of threats and intimidation).
Gulshan Karaeva is worried that a criminal case is going to be opened against her brother and his family in relation to the attack on them, and she has written to the authorities of Uzbekistan to ask for protection for her and her relatives, and to stop the persecution and harassment allegedly orchestrated by the SNB.
Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Gulshan Karaeva and her family, and calls on the authorities to take all necessary measures to stop the harassment of the human rights defender, her family and colleagues which is solely motivated by her legitimate human rights activities.
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Uzbekistan. HERE