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Reports on state-sanctioned violence and suppression of dissent; persecutions and harassment of journalists and media organisations.

Uzbekistan: Guilty verdicts against Karakalpaks for giving water to peaceful protesters, posting videos and comments on social media

Freedom for Eurasia had access to Karakalpakstan’s regional court decisions from 2022, 2023, and 2024 concerning articles of the Code of Administrative Responsibility of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The investigations focused on the following articles: Article 201  , “Violation of the procedure for organizing, holding meetings, rallies, street marches or demonstrations”; Article 201¹, “A public call for non-fulfillment or violation of legal acts”; Article 202, “Creating conditions for holding unauthorized meetings, rallies, street marches and demonstrations”; and Article 202¹, “Inducement to participate in the activities of illegal non-governmental non-profit organizations, movements, sects.”

Analysis of the court decisions revealed that the accusations were related to the July rallies in 2022, calls to organize rallies due to rising petrol prices, calls to support Dauletmurat Tajimuratov, and support for participants in the July 2022 rallies. Several decisions were made against individuals who filmed the Bukhara process in 2023 against Dauletmurat Tajimuratov and posted it on the internet. In the same year, a person was found guilty for merely talking to people who wanted to organize a rally in support of Dauletmurat Tajimuratov and were fined to 600,000 sum.

In 2024, a person was found guilty of leaving supportive comments for those arrested in connection to the July 2022 rallies on the public page “Karakalpak Live.” For these comments, the person was found guilty of violating Article 202 was fined 330,000 Uzbek sum, and sentenced to 10 days of arrest. The court did not explain how these comments violated Article 202, which involves providing participants of unauthorized meetings with premises or other property, but nonetheless found the person guilty.

The court decisions regarding violations of Articles 201 and 202 from 2022 included:

– Eleven cases where individuals were found guilty of assisting protesters by giving them a lift; they were fined between 600,000 and 900,000 sum.

– Five people were found guilty of giving water to protesters and were fined between 600,000 and 900,000 sum.

– Three individuals who reposted text about the rally on Telegram were fined between 300,000 and 900,000 sum.

– Four individuals participated in the rally; the decisions varied, with some being fined and arrested, while others were only fined.

– Two persons who posted a video of the rally on a Telegram channel were fined between 300,000 and 900,000 sum.

– One person who provided a speaker to the rally participants was fined 15,000,000 sum and arrested for 15 days.

These court decisions show how the Uzbek government, despite its assurances of protecting freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, persecutes even those who gave water to protesters. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many other cases of human rights violations in Karakalpakstan that we do not have access to because of Uzbekistan’s policies to silence people from speaking up about their stories.

Human Rights

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