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Uzbekistan: Human rights defender Dilmurod Sayid sentenced to 12.5 years of imprisonment
Uzbek human rights defender, Mr Dilmurod Sayid, was sentenced to 12.5 years of imprisonment on 30 July 2009, following a procedurally flawed trial which had allegedly been instigated by politically-motivated charges.
Dilmurod Sayid is an activist of the Tashkent regional branch of the human rights society “Ezgulik”. Prior to his trial, he wrote as independent journalist for the internet site, “Voice of Freedom,” and also defended the rights of farmers in the Samarkand region, whose lands have been illegally seized by the local administration. Front Line previously issued an urgent appeal concerning the trial of Dilmurod Sayid on 24 February 2009.
On 30 July 2009, the Tailak Distict court of Uzbekistan sentenced Dimurod Sayid to 12.5 years of imprisonment under Articles 165 (extortion) and 228 (forgery) of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. The verdict was passed behind closed doors and neither his lawyer, Ruhiddin Komilov, his public defender, Abdurakhman Tashanov, nor his family members had been informed of the trial date in advance.
On 22 February 2009, Dilmurod Sayid was arrested at his home on charges of extortion by the Tashkent branch of the State Tax Committee, under orders from the General Prosecutor's Office of Uzbekistan.
Following numerous inconsistencies in the investigation and violations of fair trial standards in which court hearings were repeatedly conducted without notice to defence lawyer, the trial began in June 2009.
During the trial several key witnesses withdrew their testimonies and stated that they had been pressurised into giving false evidence against Dilmurod Sayid, however the state prosecutor nonetheless asked the judge for a punishment of 14.5 years of imprisonment.
Dilmurod Sayid suffers from acute tuberculosis and there is serious risk for his health in detention without adequate treatment.
Front Line believes that the sentencing of Dilmurod Sayid is a direct response to his legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of human rights in Uzbekistan, in particular his efforts to expose local officials' abuse of power and corruption and his willingness to fight for the rights of farmers in the Samarkand region. Front Line believes that the imprisonment of Dilmurod Sayid forms part of a pattern of repression by the Uzbek authorities against human rights defenders.