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Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 06:36:08 LCL
Sender: Former Soviet Republic - Central Asia Political Discussion List <CENASIA@VM1.MCGILL.CA>
From: Cevdet Seyhan <<Cevdet_Seyhan@CENA.VOA.GOV>
Subject: Uzbekistan- p1

Uzbekistan—part 1: Equality under Lawlessness

By Muhammed Saleh, Chairman of the ERK Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, 25 January 1995

In 1993 the Uzbek parliament adopted the main law of the land, The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

President Karimov wanted the constitution to look democratic, and before adopting it, its draft had been presented to Western experts for evaluation. In general, the conclusions of experts were positive. For examble, the comments of French lawyers have been published in all of national and regional newspaper. The new constitution was declared -the most democratic one in the world-.

It actually look more democratic compared to the old constitution of Uzbek SSSR. Practically all of the rights and liberties of citizens, which a person living in a democratic society would desire, are declared in it.

What, then does the political opposition want from the regime ? What is the reason of such rough confrontation between the government and the opposition? It is hard to give an answer to westerners,for whom a constitution is reality of social life.

On the other hand, people from the former soviet union, readily understand why the constitution has never represented the will of its people, and was just a game of the totalitarian rule.

The regime of Uzbekistan does not even try to conceal this clever game its people. Complete lawlessness is domination the country. The law is completely turned upside down, as well as the lives of people in the society. All rights and liberties, allowed by the constitution of the republic of the Uzbekistan, are banned by the president and all of the government's actions against citizens, which are banned by the constitution, are permitted by the president.

The constitution gives people the right to express themselves through demonstrations, meetings, pickets,etc. . , however, the president of the republic can take away this right. Even meetings of ten people are banned if they are organized by non-governmental structures or opposition groups. The constitution prohibits censorship, but it exists and is stricter than ever before.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech, but in the republic today there is not a single independent publication, not a single independent radio or tv channel.

The political opposition publishes its newspaper abroad the republic autorities have arrested over 50 people for distributing it. Currently there has been a trial of propagandists of this publication. They are accused in / preparing a coup d'état.

The constitution promises the citizens of the republic freedom of religion, but almost all of the renowned spiritial leaders have been either jailed or forced by governmental persecution and terror to leave the country. In our society a person (whoever he or she is, a citizen of republic or a foreign) is not protected from the danger of being arrested at any time and accused of any crime by the police. self-portrayed.


Rights of these governmental structures are as vast as they would be during a state of emergency or at a time of war. For examble, the police can burst into your house at any time and conduct a search without a court order. Any policeman can stop you on the street, search you, and take away your passport and money. Of cource, he might return your passport after-analysis- inthe police department, but he would surely-forget-to return your money. If you tried to protest, they would give you such a look, that you would rush to depart, thanking God for not getting arrested.

The prosecutor can give permission to arrest a suspect for an unlimited time period. In order to arrest someone he does not trouble himself to write an order, just one phone call is enough for-detectives-to arrest a specified person.

Phone tapping of conversations of citizens is common. Those conversations are used as evidence in the court, if desired.

At the end of 1993, President Karimov ordered equipment from Germany for computerized phone tapping. This equipment was immediately installed and now the intimate life of our people occurs under total supervision from the regime. The staff on National Security Service (NSS) has doubled in teh last three years. Whereas the former KGB did not have regional divisions, the NSS already does. The activities of this organization do not target external affairs, as was initially intended, but exclusively target internal affairs where it fights mainly with the political opposition and not with organized crime or foreign intelligence.

Employees of the police force (consisting of regular police,NSS and the Prosecutor;s office ) represent the most higly paid class in the society. The regime exists only because of them, and the president does not spare anyting from them. In the middle of 1994 the chairman of the NSS, Mr. ALIEV was awarded an order of-feat-for-accomplishments in fighting opposition and confiscating the newspaper-ERK-.


Members of the opposition are arrested without being oresented any kind of charges. They are grasped anywhere, on a street, at home, at school, at friend's place, in a cinema, etc. It is not necessery for them to do something illegal to be arrested, mere membership in a opposition party is enough. They are not presented charges even within a week or a month while they are in the basements of KGB or Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, they are interrogated every day, while authorities try to come up with and establish some kind of charges. And even when authorities eventually come up with charges, interrogations continue without an attorney.

Noticeable is the fact, that usually the staff of the police force does not know charges prior to an arrest. They just follow the orders-from above- and have to improvise when writing a report.

Recenly the police arrested my younger brother-Rashid Bekjan. He was arrested simply for being the brother of leader of an opposition party. The regime punishes the whole families of its opponents and there are many examples to demonstrate this. The police immediately tried to present charges against him. On the day of the arrest (December 11, '94 ) there was an announcement on the TV that Mr. Bekjan was arrested with anti-government leaflets in his pocket. But four days later officials take him to his home -- where he was living with his mother -- and conducted another search. This time they made up charges of being in possesing of narcotics and caught him again. That is, the government, after some thinking, decide to change the reason for the arrest, because, authorities wanted to press criminal charces, but-antigovernment leaflets-smelled of politics..

Finding drugs and side-arms are the most common methods of apprehending activists. This was the excuse used for the well-known writer M. Mahmodov, members of ERK Y. Rozimuradov, H. Kochhanov, poet-singer D. Hasanov, my brother M. Bekjan and many others.

The primitive character of charges sometimes reaches the level of absurdism. In the summer of 1994 in ALMA ATA, Uzbek detectives apprehended Y. Rozimuradov, a member of opposition, who was in charge of distributing party publications. The Alma Ata authorities were given the explanation that Mr. Rozimuradov was nat an activist but murderer. Fortunately, Mr. Rozimuradov was able to escape from detectives. But two more organizers of distribution of ERK nespaper were arrested-former debuties M. Djuraev and E. Ashurov. They were locked in the basement of the NSS on June 18 of last year, and still there has been no trial. They were charged with an-attempt of coup d*etat- and to prove this lie authorities associated them with three more members of the ERK party, who were also involved in circulation the opposition's newspapers.

In 1992 the Secr. of the ERK, A. Aripov and party member S. Umrzakov were convicted on similar charges. Under pressure from international organizations they were pardoned in Nov. 1994. end of the part- 1---- (continue)