Open and insolent trampling of human rights by Uzbek powers came to Kyiv
On 16 February 1999 in the center of the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, a series of explosions occurred. There were explosions on Mustakillik square, where the administrative building of ministries and government enterprises, as well as the Cabinet of Ministers are situated. Others mines exploded at the National Bank of external trade, as well as in the Zavodskaya street. Several hours later after the explosions (according to the official version there were six explosions) without careful and many-sided investigation Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, declared that the explosions were managed by Vakhabites, an extreme fringe of Islamists, which dislike the stability and ‘prosperity in the country. President Karimov threatened to chop off their hands. Ten days later Karimov and his camarilla, without any proof, began to blame the democratic party ‘Erk and its leader Mukhammad Salikh, the founder of the democratic movement in Uzbekistan. More than a thousand of people were arrested in the country, suspected of participation in organizing these explosions. Among them was Mamadali Makhmudov, a well-known writer, a member of the party ‘Erk. Another victim was Rashid Bekchanov, an activist of the ‘Erk party, Mukhammad Salikhs brother. Representatives of religious groups and democratic opposition, both in Uzbekistan and outside, declared that they were not connected with the explosions. The powers and the law-enforcing agencies did not demonstrate a single fact that would prove the contrary.
Now the Uzbek powers stretched their feelers to Kyiv. On 15 March in Kyiv members of the Central Council of the ‘Erk party Yusuf Ruzimuradov and Mukhammad Bekhchanov, another brother of Mukhammad Salikh, were arrested. Without showing any documents, confirming their rights, Ukrainian and Uzbek militiamen rushed into the flat where Ruzimuradov and Bekhchanov stayed. The militiamen searched the flat and took away books and cassettes concerning the activities of the ‘Erk party. Militiamen behaved themselves rudely and they took a solid sum of money earned by commercial activities. There is a danger that Yusuf Ruzimuradov and Mukhammad Bekhchanov will be extradited.
Society on observance of human rights in Central Asia states that the open and insolent trampling of law and human rights by Uzbek powers has reached dangerous scale; the society considers the accusations to the address of the religious groups and the democratic ‘Erk party quite groundless. The society appeals to human rights protection organizations and democratic mass media to denounce the actions of Uzbek powers. The Society demands immediate and unconditional release of all illegally arrested, in particular Mamadali Makhmudov and Rashid Bekhchanov, arrested in Tashkent, as well as Mukhammad Bekhchanov and Yusuf Ruzimuradov arrested in Kyiv.