Uzbek torture victim dies on UN day against torture
As the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has received the tragic news of the death of Abdurasul Khudoynazarov, a 58-year old human rights activist from Uzbekistan.
His death was reported by Ferghana News Agency.
Khudoynazarov was arrested on 26 June 2005, due to his work fighting corruption among Uzbek police authorities.
Declaring that he was being tortured in prison, Khudoynazarov went on hunger strike and as a result was placed in solitary confinement. He later attempted to commit suicide while incarcerated in Bekabad, near Tashkent.
In November 2013, the UN Committee Against Torture expressed concern that Khudoynazarov had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment as a result of his work as a human rights defender. International human rights organizations have repeatedly shown that the use of torture is systematic and endemic in Uzbekistan, one of the most repressive regimes in the world.
Less than a month ago, Khudoynazarov was released from prison due to being gravely sick with tuberculosis and cancer. According to his wife, other inmates had repeatedly appealed for medical attention on his behalf. These requests were ignored by the prison authorities, who chose to wait until he was so sick that it was clear he would soon die.
Abdurasul Khudoynazarov died in his home in Tashkent Province on this morning, on 26 June 2014, exactly nine years after he was arrested for his human rights work. And on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
He leaves behind his wife and four children.
- The human rights situation in Uzbekistan is utterly dismal, said Ivar Dale, the NHC Regional Representative in Central Asia, and few countries merit greater attention when it comes to the fight against torture and ill-treatment. - Unfortunately, Uzbek authorities have made it all but impossible for domestic human rights groups to work openly, and do not follow-up on recommendations by international human rights mechanisms. The international community must take further initiatives and increase pressure on the Uzbek government, said Dale.