Uzbekistan: lawyer Dauletmurat Tajimuratov arbitrarily detained
17 January 2024
Dauletmurat Tajimuratov is a lawyer and human rights defender. He advocates for the protection of the rights of the Karakalpak people and for the protection of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan.
In 2022, the Uzbek government’s repression of the Karakalpak population intensified, with the right to secede from Uzbekistan being taken away by an amendment to the Uzbek Constitution proposed by President Shavkat Mirziyayev.
In this context, lawyer Dauletmurat Tajimuratov announced that he would hold a peaceful demonstration. However, he was arrested by the Uzbek authorities, who sought to prevent the demonstration.
Demonstrations nevertheless took place in Nukus, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. These were violently repressed and led to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Uzbek government.
At the same time, Dauletmurat Tajimuratov was arrested for „orchestrating mass riots, attempting to seize power and distributing documents containing threats to national security„. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison on 31 January 2023.
L The lawyer denounced the inhuman conditions and ill-treatment suffered during his detention. His lawyer, Sergey Mayorov, also denounced his client’s conditions in prison, who does not have access to health care or adequate food. In addition, he is almost entirely deprived of contact with the outside world.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is concerned about the situation of Dauletmurat Tajimuratov, « his head was forcibly shaved, and prison officers forced other detainees to intimidate and harass him ».
The Observatory strongly condemns the Uzbek authorities‘ repression of Dauletmurat Tajimuratov.
The Observatory urges the Uzbek authorities to carry out an independent investigation into the allegations of inhuman and degrading treatment suffered by Tajimuratov in detention.
The Observatory calls on the government of Uzbekistan to comply with Article 1, paragraph 2, of the United Nations Charter, in particular the “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”.
The Observatory recalls that, in accordance with the United Nations basic principles on the role of the Bar, in particular principles 16, 17, 23 and 27:
Principle 16: “Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;”
Principle 17: “Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.”
Principle 23: „Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization. In exercising these rights, lawyers shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.“
Principle 27: “Charges or complaints made against lawyers in their professional capacity shall be processed expeditiously and fairly under appropriate procedures. Lawyers shall have the right to a fair hearing, including the right to be assisted by a lawyer of their choice.”
 Haut-Commissariat aux droits de l’homme des Nations Unies, “Uzbekistan must refrain from persecuting defenders of minority rights : UN experts”, communiqué de presse du 9 novembre 2023, disponible en ligne (anglais).