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Karakalpakstan: Human Rights Attorney Sergei Mayorov’s messengers were hacked

In a concerning development, it has been revealed that the messenger accounts of the Uzbek human rights attorney Sergei Mayorov have been hacked. For years Sergey Mayorov defended high profile cases and represented bloggers, journalists, political opponents and critics of the Uzbek authorities, including the case of blogger Miraziz Bazarov, journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev and civil society activist Zhumasapar Dadebayev.

Currently Mayorov is representing a prominent Karakalpak political prisoner, Dauletmurat Tajimuratov who has been imprisoned on false charges of conspiracy to seize power and overthrow of the constitutional order of Uzbekistan and Kazakh human rights defender Galym Ageleous who was unlawfully banned from entering Uzbekistan where he travelled on a human rights monitoring and research mission in Karakalpakstan.

The hack raises serious implications for the privacy and safety of those associated with cases that Mayorov currently represents and violate attorney-client privilege which may negatively affect all of his clients. The unauthorized access to these accounts may expose all communication histories, including sensitive legal discussions and information about individuals connected to the political prisoners Mayorov represents. This breach poses a significant threat, potentially leading to the persecution and harassment of people within the contact lists of the hacked accounts. Beyond compromising legal strategies, the stolen information may be wielded to manipulate the case against the political prisoners, jeopardizing their chances of a fair trial.

According to the Law Of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Guarantees Of Legal Practice and Social Protection Of Lawyers (Article 6. Inviolability of the lawyer) “The personality of the lawyer is inviolable. The inviolability of a lawyer extends to his or her home, office premises, the means of transport and communication used by him, his correspondence, his belongings and documents.” Breaking into attorney’s electronic devices is a crime.

We call on Uzbek authorities to investigate the breach and take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of Sergei Mayorov and protection of the rights of his clients

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