Washington, D.C. – Freedom Now is pleased to announce the release of human rights activist and farmer Bobomurod Razzakov after three years of wrongful imprisonment. Mr. Razzakov was serving a four year sentence related to his involvement with Uzbekistan’s only registered human rights group, Ezgulik. On October 25, 2016, the criminal court of Bustonlik district, Tashkent region ruled to release Mr. Razzakov on parole. This is Uzbekistan’s first clemency after the death of President Islam Karimov on September 2.
“Bobomurod Razzakov spent more than three years wrongfully imprisoned for bringing to light government corruption and human rights abuse,” said Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner. “Especially in this time of transition, the Uzbek government must commit to respecting the human rights of all its citizens. It can begin by releasing all of its thousands of political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.”
Prior to his imprisonment, Mr. Razzakov helped expose government corruption and human rights violations in the farming communities. He also worked closely with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and BBC Uzbek, reporting primarily on corruption, forced labor, and the problems faced by local farmers.
On July 12, 2013, police arrested Mr. Razzakov on fabricated human trafficking charges. The next day, officials searched his house and seized printed materials related to his human rights work. On September 24, 2013, the Bukhara region criminal court found Mr. Razzakov guilty of human trafficking and sentenced him to four years in prison.
In the months before his arrest, Mr. Razzakov was summoned repeatedly to the counterterrorism unit of the Department of Internal Affairs where officers interrogated him about his activism and connections to international media outlets. Authorities made direct threats against him and his family and warned him that if he did not cease his work, he would have only himself to blame for his misfortune.
While imprisoned, Mr. Razzakov was kept in Prison No. 64/3 in Tavaksay, Tashkent region. During Mr. Razzakov’s detention, officials threatened to retaliate against him and his family if his son did not stop communicating with international human rights organizations. In one instance, prison authorities placed Mr. Razzakov in a punishment cell for 15 days for alleged infractions of prison rules. Prison officials reportedly subjected Mr. Razzakov to this punishment in order to prevent him from being eligible for amnesty on Constitution Day.
Throughout his imprisonment, Mr. Razzakov faced numerous health problems. He suffered from high blood pressure and in November 2014 he required significant surgery for a major skull contusion sustained while imprisoned. In April 2016, Freedom Now, along with co-counsel Dechert LLP, submitted an Allegation Letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health detailing some of the health abuses that Mr. Razzakov had suffered while in detention.
In March 2015, Freedom Now and Dechert filed a petition with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Mr. Razzakov’s behalf.
To learn more about Freedom Now’s representation of Mr. Razzakov and our other work in Uzbekistan, visit our website: www.freedom-now.org.