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Uzbekistan: Update – Ongoing harassment of human rights defender Uktam Pardayev
Human rights defender Mr Uktam Pardayev has reported being subjected to constant harassment in recent weeks after he was visited at his home by representatives of the American Embassy in Uzbekistan.
In mid-September 2012, Uktam Pardayev, Chairperson of the Independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (IHRSU) in the region of Djizak, was followed by a white Daewoo Nexia car, the licence plate of which is known to Front Line Defenders, driven by persons in plain clothes. The human rights defender pulled into a yard when he noticed he was being followed, and he saw the people who were following him stop and look for him before driving away.
On 8 September 2012, Uktam Pardayev's neighbours were visited by officers from the Djizak Department of Interior Affairs and questioned about the human rights defender's activities, including questions on who he meets and where he goes. Previously, on 30 August, two Djizak police officers went to Uktam Pardayev's home and asked for his phone number from his mother. The human rights defender was not home at the time. When Uktam Pardayev called the police officers back, he was told that they had been instructed to visit him by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Uktam Pardayev believes that these measures began after he was visited at his home by representatives of the American Embassy in Uzbekistan in the context of his human rights activities.
In addition to this, the human rights defender cannot obtain an exit visa, for which he applied at the end of last year. On 11 June 2012, the Djizak Inter-District Court refused to consider Uktam Pardayev's appeal against the denial of his visa application on the ground that it was outside of the court's jurisdiction. On 29 August 2012, the Regional Court of Djizak, overruled the decision of the court of first instance and sent the appeal back to be heard by the court.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its calls on the Uzbek authorities to provide Uktam Pardayev with an exit visa and to immediately cease all harassment of the human rights defender, including unwarranted surveillance.