JUNE 16, 2005
Posted: June 21, 2005
Tulkin Karayev, Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Police in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi stopped Karayev as he was trying to travel to the capital, Tashkent, to seek medical treatment, Karayev told CPJ in a telephone interview. The detention came just two days after Karayev was released from prison after serving 10 days on a specious charge of “hooliganism.”
Two police officers detained Karayev and human rights activist Akmal Akhmedov at around 8 a.m. on June 16, took them to the local Interior Ministry office, and held them for five hours without charges or explanation. Police told Karayev and Akhmedov they were executing “orders from above,” before seizing their passports and releasing them, Karayev told CPJ.
Karayev was going to Tashkent to seek medical treatment after his health deteriorated during a hunger strike to protest his prison sentence. Karayev, who is based in Karshi, is unable to travel without his passport. Uzbek authorities at checkpoints throughout the country require a passport for citizens traveling internally.
“Before releasing us, police told us they were going to return our passports by the end of the day [on June 16],” Karayev told CPJ. “Yet we haven’t received them to this day.”
Karayev told CPJ that security agents have monitored his activities since March, questioning relatives and friends about his actions. People he believes to be agents have been following him as well, Karayev said. Surat Ikramov, head of the Independent Group for Human Rights Defenders, a Tashkent-based human rights organization, told CPJ that he fears for Karayev’s safety.