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REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN:
DEFENDER SUBJECTED TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Update info:
10 Jun 2015
Country:
REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
Subject:
Elena Urlaeva
Gender: f
Period:
16 Jul 2015
Distribution date:
10 Jun 2015
UA No:
125/2015

Uzbekistani human rights defender Elena Urlaeva was detained by police officers on 31 May and subjected to torture, sexual violence and humiliation to force her to surrender her camera’s memory card. The memory card contained photographic evidence of human rights violations documented by Elena Urlaeva.

Elena Urlaeva, a human rights defender and the head of the independent NGO Human Rights Defenders’ Alliance of Uzbekistan, was detained by police officers on 31 May. That day she had been monitoring the use of forced labour in cotton fields. She was kept for several hours in a local police station in the city of Chinaz, Tashkent region, northeast Uzbekistan and police confiscated her notebook and her digital camera. 

According to Elena Urlaeva, one of the police officers beat her on the head and demanded to know where she had hidden her camera’s memory card. Other police officers (all male) were shouting and swearing at her, calling her an “agent of the USA” and a traitor and accusing her of selling Uzbekistani government secrets to foreign countries. Elena Urlaeva explained that police officers called paramedics to the police station and that she was given three injections that made her feel weak. She was stripped naked and subjected to two vaginal examinations. At first she was forced to lie on a bed while a female doctor gave her an internal vaginal examination, supposedly to find the memory card. When she did not find it, police officers forced Elena Urlaeva onto a chair. Police officers and a male paramedic held her by the arms and legs while a female doctor inserted a speculum into her vagina to conduct a second examination. This procedure caused bleeding. She was also given an anal examination. Police officers then took her to a local hospital for a chest and abdominal X-ray. After the X-ray she asked to use the toilet but the police officers forced her to urinate on the grass in front of the hospital. The officers filmed and photographed her and threatened to post the pictures on the internet if she complained about her treatment.

Elena Urlaeva protested in front of the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in Tashkent on 1 June, holding up a poster demanding that those guilty of her torture and other ill-treatment be brought to justice. Security officials then arrived and took her into an MIA office where she wrote a complaint.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Uzbekistan is one of the most authoritarian states in the world. The authorities are responsible for grave, systemic and widespread human rights violations, including severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression, and torture and other ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners by the security forces is endemic. Prominent human rights defenders, government critics and independent journalists have been forced to leave Uzbekistan to escape arrest or sustained harassment and intimidation by the security forces and local authorities, and many continue to face harassment abroad by the Uzbekistani authorities.

Name: Elena Urlaeva

Gender m/f: f

Take action

Please write immediately in Uzbek, Russian, English or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to order a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into Elena Urlaeva’s allegations of torture, sexual violence and humiliation, and bring those responsible to justice;
  • Calling on them to respect their obligations under international human rights law to ensure that nobody is subjected to torture or other ill-treatment;
  • Urging them to ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including harassment, intimidation and attacks.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 16 JULY 2015 TO:
Prosecutor General
Ihtior Abdullaev
Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan
ul. Gulyamova 66
Tashkent 700047
Uzbekistan
Fax: +998 71 133 39 17
Email: info@prokuratura.uz
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

And copies to:
Ombudsperson (Human Rights Commissioner)
Sayora Rashidova
Uzbekistan Avenue 16a
Tashkent 100027
Uzbekistan
Fax: + 998 71 239 81 36 (Please say “fax”)
Email:  info@ombudsman.uz

send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.