On 19 May 2008, while Tadjibaeva was still imprisoned, the Martin Ennals Foundation announced her as the 2008 award winner. Two weeks later, after a focused international campaign condemning Tadjibaeva's imprisonment, the Uzbek authorities released Tadjibaeva. A few months later Tadjibaeva was allowed to travel abroad (for medical reasons) and thus receive in person the 2008 Martin Ennals Award on 20 November 2008, in Geneva.
In March 2009 Tadjibayeva received the International Women of Courage award, established by the State Department of the USA. Later, however, she rejected it, declaring that it is "insulting to my people and my nation to share an award with Roza Otunbaeva (former President of Kyrgyzstan, ndr). I find it disgusting to be compared to a woman whose hands are covered in blood and who has long sullied whatever positive qualities she used to have.
If I were told that I only have one day left to live, I would spend it fighting for human rights
Mutabar Tadjibaeva is an independent journalist and human rights defender. She is a fearless critic of the Uzbek government and openly spoke out against the massacre of mainly unarmed civilians by government forces in Andijan in May 2005. She is the President of the Fiery Hearts Club and has long helped ordinary people seek justice. In Uzbekistan, Mutabar investigated drug trafficking, corruption and human rights violations. Because of her work, she has been threatened, jailed, tortured and raped. On the evening of 7 October 2005,T adjibaeva was about to leave her home to travel to Ireland to attend Front Line Defenders’s 3rd Dublin Platform, where she intended to speak of the human rights violations committed by the Uzbek state, when armed and masked policemen stormed her home, arrested and charged her with extortion based on a minor financial disagreement with an employee at her fish farm. She was then released in 2008 and since 2009 she has been living in France as a political refugee.