Members of the Civic Solidarity Platform are deeply concerned about the safety of journalist Sergey Naumov, who was arrested by police in his home town Urgench in Khorazm Province, Uzbekistan on Saturday night, 21 September 2013 and later sentenced to 12 days imprisonment for “hooliganism”.
Uzbekistani authorities declined to release information regarding his whereabouts following his arrest; and his trial was in breach of fair trial principles as he was denied the services of a lawyer. There is reason to believe that these trumped-up accusations could be followed by a more serious set-up resulting in a longer sentence at a later stage, a tactic often deployed against journalists and human rights defenders in Uzbekistan.
Sergey Naumov is a respected journalist who has worked with a number of international news agencies over the years, including the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Ferghana News Agency and others.
In 2009, he received an award from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tashkent for the best coverage of Uzbek-Russian relations.
According to Mr. Naumov’s friends, he called them around 7 PM on 21 September, saying police had arrived, asking that they sound the alarm if he did not get back in touch with them shortly. An hour later, his friends managed to get through to him, but only sounds of voices in the background could be heard. Friends and family were unable to locate him for 72 hours, and the first official information on his whereabouts came in the Human Rights Association of Central Asia press release on 24 September.
Working conditions for journalists and human rights defenders in Uzbekistan remain among the most severe in the former Soviet Union, and indeed in the world. Simultaneously, the law-enforcement organs are known for their systematic use of torture and widespread corruption.
The Civic Solidarity Platform is deeply concerned about the situation for Sergey Naumov, and demands that Uzbekistani authorities in compliance with their international obligations ensure that no citizen is imprisoned for his lawful expression of his political opinion.
We also call upon the Embassies of the Russian Federation, the United States and member states of the European Union in Tashkent to pay close attention to Naumov’s situation in the close future and express their support for him at this time.
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Center for National and International Studies, Azerbaijan
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Albanian Helsinki Committee
The Kosova Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims
PromoLex Association, Moldova
Moscow Helsinki Group
The Helsinki Committee of Armenia
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland
Human Rights Group Citizen. Army. Law.
Public Verdict Foundation, Russia
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly, Vanadzor (Armenia)
Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
International Youth Human Rights Movement (Russia)
Kharkiv Regional Foundation Public Initiative (Ukraine)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
Crude Accountability (United States)
Belarusian Human Rights House
Human Rights Club, Azerbaijan
United for Intercultural Action