Risk of Death Sentence for Iskandar Khudoberganov, Uzbekistan sign now

Iskandar Khudoberganov is at grave risk of being sentenced to death at a trial that recently opened in the capital, Tashkent. He and two other defendants in the same case, Bekzod Kasymbekov and Nosirkhon Khakimov, have reportedly been tortured to force them to confess to charges that may have been fabricated.

Case
The trial opened in Tashkent City Court on 26 August. The three men named above and three further co-defendants have been accused of religious extremism and charged with serious anti-state crimes, including 'attempting to overthrow the constitutional order' and 'setting up an illegal group'. Iskandar Khudoberganov has in addition been charged with 'terrorism' and 'premeditated, aggravated murder', and has been accused of having been trained in military camps in Chechnya and Tajikistan with the aim of overthrowing the Uzbek government by violent means. These additional charges carry the death penalty. It is not clear whether the charges faced by Iskandar Khudoberganov, Bekzod Kasymbekov and Nosirkhon Khakimov are supported by compelling evidence or based on confessions that may have been extracted under torture. Iskandar Khudoberganov went into hiding in February 1999 when he found out that he was wanted by police on accusations of 'terrorism' and 'religious extremism'. In an attempt to force his family to disclose his whereabouts, police subsequently detained his father Erkin Khudoberganov and his brother Sanzhar several times. On one occasion, at the end of February 1999, the men were beaten by police to such an extent that they had to be hospitalized.

Death Penalty in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has detained and imprisoned thousands of people on accusations of religious extremism. There have been persistent allegations that many of those arrested were tortured by police, and that many in fact had weapons and narcotics planted on them to fabricate cases (Amnesty International). In the course of a particularly severe clampdown following the February 1999 bomb explosions in Tashkent that the authorities claimed were assassination attempts on President Islam Karimov, a number of death sentences were imposed in unfair trials.

In April 1999 President Karimov was said to have publicly stated: 'I am prepared to rip off the heads of 200 people, to sacrifice their lives, in order to save peace and calm in the republic.'

In September 2001 President Karimov publicly stated that around 100 people were executed in Uzbekistan each year. Since the beginning of 2002 two death row prisoners were reportedly executed despite interventions by the United Nations Human Rights Committee urging the Uzbek authorities to put their executions on hold. According to Human Rights Watchdog Amnesty International, all death sentences that were commuted in Uzbekistan in recent years had been handed down for offences without a political background.

Urgent Appeal
The Undersigned appeal to city procurator Mels Inamovich Naimov not to suggest to the judge to hand down the death sentence against Iskandar Khudoberganov, currently standing trial at Tashkent City Court.

The Undersigned appeal to President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov to ensure prompt and impartial investigations into the allegations that Iskandar Khudoberganov,Bekzod Kasymbekov and Nosirkhon Khakimov were tortured, and that some of their family members were ill-treated or subjected to cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment.

The Undersigned further urge President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov to acknowledge that the death penalty is a violation of the most fundamental human right; the Right to Life, and to commute all death sentences that have been handed down in recent years.

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Information

Deanne NelsonBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov and City Procurator Mels Inamovich Naimov

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