Staunton, December 28 – The Russian authorities are allowing officers of the Uzbek National Security Service to interrogate and in some cases torture Uzbeks detained in Russian jails on suspicion of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir or other radical Islamist groups, according to the Memorial Human Rights organization.
According to Memorial, Uzbek security officers in recent months have interrogated and even tortured Uzbeks detained in the Russian Federation, leaving some of them with serious wounds and in at least one case driving the Uzbek involved to commit suicide (www.sova-center.ru/misuse/news/other-actions/2012/12/d26140/
On November 15, Russian police detained five Uzbeks from Namagan at Vnukovo airport. The Russians told the Uzbeks that Tashkent had issued an international warrant for their detention on suspicion of being members of “banned extremist organizations” like Hizb ut-Tahrir. All five were then confined in a Moscow jail pending extradition.
Then, on December 7, Memorial says, three officers of the Uzbek special services interrogated the suspects. “In the course of the interrogation, [the five] were openly threatened with torture and for 15 to 20 years of incarceration and shown photographs of neighbors who had been arrested in Uzbekistan, on the faces of whom were clear traces of cruel beatings.”
Two days later, one of those arrested by the Russians, Abdusamat Fazletdinov, 19, committed suicide in his cell “as a result of psychological stress after the interrogation (www.memo.ru/d/139176.html). Tashkent officials told Fazletdinov’s relatives that he had gone to Russia to make money for terrorist groups. But according to Memorial, he had never before had any problems with law enforcement bodies (www.memo.ru/d/141690.html).
Another case of the same type occurred when Uzbek security officers interviewed Latif Zhalalbayev, who was serving a sentence in a Kaliningrad penal colony. They took him to a basement and beat him, Memorial reports, demanding that he confess to raising money for jihadist groups in Uzbekistan.
The Uzbek officers told him that he would be deported to Uzbekistan two months after his release by the Russians and that “your co-conspirator has already been killed in Moscow and that the same fate awaits [him].” Later, Zhalalbayev was put in a separate cell and was able to move about “only with the help of other prisoners.”
And in what may be a related case, Yusup Kasymakhunov, an Uzbekistan citizen, disappeared in Moscow after being released from seven years of imprisonment for cooperating with Hizb ut-Tahrir. Memorial investigators say that he was “kidnapped by officers of the Uzbek special services.”
All these cases show, leaders of the Memorial Human Rights Organization say, that “officers of the National Security Service of Uzbekistan, exploiting the inaction of the law enforcement organs of Russia, continue to commit illegal actions on the territory” of the Russian Federation (www.memo.ru/d/141690.html).