Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Pannier’

Two women human rights defenders inside Uzbekistan: amazing story

April 29, 2015

Human rights defenders Adelaida Kim (left) and Elena Urlaeva

Human rights defenders Adelaida Kim (left) and Elena Urlaeva
 I have written often about Uzbekistan’s 2008 MEA Laureate, Mutabar Tadjibaeva [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/mutabar-tadjibayeva/], who now lives in exile in Paris, but Radio Free Europe on 29 April, 2015 carries a piece on two women human rights defenders, among the few left in Uzbekistan. Undaunted by the threats, beatings, and forced incarcerations of authorities, they continue to demand their rights. Especially the second case, that of Elena Urlaeva, is amazing:

Adelaida Kim of the Rights Defenders Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU) is one such person. She featured in an earlier Qishloq Ovozi. She was in court then, she was in court again in April, and, as was true in the previous post, she brought a complaint against police.  It started when Kim and colleague Lyudmila Brosalina were demonstrating outside the Ukrainian Embassy in Tashkent on May 8, 2014. Kim was demanding an end to hostilities in eastern Ukraine, specifically the “vicious murders of unarmed people…”

There were only the two of them, but Uzbek authorities worry that such acts could mushroom and lead to antigovernment protests, so any picket is dispersed quickly. Kim was detained and brought to police headquarters. There, Kim says, police Colonel Bakhtiyor Egamberdyev insulted and berated her and told her she should move to Ukraine. On April 8, the hearing opened in Kim’s case against Egamberdyev and two other policemen. Bakhtiyor Egamberdyev arrived, except, as Kim pointed out, it was not the right Bakhtiyor Egamberdyev. The person who showed up in the courtroom on April 8 was a deputy district police chief who was also named Bakhtiyor Egamberdyev. Neither of the two policemen named in Kim’s lawsuit showed up for the trial either. The hearing was adjourned and scheduled to reconvene when the correct Bakhtiyor Egamberdyev was located and summoned. As of the time of this writing, there have not been any reports that the trial has resumed.

Standing outside the courthouse on April 8 was PAU leader Yelena Urlaeva, holding a sign of support for Kim. The story of Urlaeva is almost beyond belief:

Bruce Pannier in his blog Qishloq Ovozi has called her the bravest person in Uzbekistan. Urlaeva has been detained many times. She’s been forcibly committed to psychiatric clinics, physically assaulted, and regularly threatened. [see also https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/2004]. Under these circumstances it is indeed amazing that on April 7  sent a letter to Uzbekistan’s interior minister requesting that the head of the department for fighting terrorism in the Mirzo-Ulughbek district of Tashkent, Ilyas Mustafaev, be promoted… It’s not a joke. Urlaeva is totally sincere.

Ilyas Mustafaev (left) is a frequent visitor to Urlaeva's apartment.
Ilyas Mustafaev (left) is a frequent visitor to Urlaeva’s apartment.

Mustafaev has been detaining Urlaeva for some 17 years, but in her letter the PAU leader said Mustafaev has always fulfilled his duties honestly — both as an officer and as a human being. “I understand Mustafaev,” she said. “He’s a soldier and carries out orders.”

Mustafaev has had to come to Urlaeva’s flat so often that he is now considered a guest  “Ilyas calls my mother ‘mama’ and mama calls him ‘son’,” Urlaeva said. HE has even shown up at her birthday parties. Urlaeva recalled that when she was demonstrating in 2010, “someone in civilian clothes” started hitting her and Mustafaev pulled the attacker away and apologized “for his colleague” and took her home. In her letter recommending Mustafaev be raised in rank, Urlaeva wrote, “This worthy officer is already more than 50 years old and is still a major.” She asked that he be promoted by April 28, which Urlaeva knows is Mustafaev’s birthday.

Two Of Uzbekistan’s Best And Bravest.