25 February 2023
On 25 February 2023 Freedom for Eurasia forwarded a request for information to the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the Head of the Commission for the Study of Events in Karakalpakstan in July 2022 Ms. Eshmatova Feruza Farkhodovna. The questions included in the information request are as follows:
1. According to media reports, on July 4, 2022, at a briefing with the participation of representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the National Guard of Uzbekistan, the following figures were announced for persons injured during the events of 1–2.07.2022: 243 people were injured (not counting the dead), including 38 law enforcement officers. However, in the later materials of the criminal case on the “Group 22” it is noted that only 164 civilians and 180 law enforcement officers were injured. What is the reason for the reduction in the estimated number of wounded civilians from 205 to 164?
2. A similar decrease in the numbers took place for the dead. On July 4, a representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office told the press about 18 dead, on July 18 — that three more people died as a result of serious injuries. Based on this information, many media wrote about 21 dead. However, the materials of the criminal case on the “group 22” refer to 19 dead. What cases and for what reason were excluded from this list?
3. On July 4, 2022, the commander of the National Guard, Rustam Juraev, told reporters about the four dead law enforcement officers. The same figure was repeated two days later in Nukus by the representative of the commandant’s office Zafar Alimov. However, as can be seen from the materials of the case of the “group of 22” among the employees of the “law enforcement agencies” there were no deaths. Does this mean that the statements of Juraev and Alimov were based on fake information?
4. Why are some well-documented cases related to the death of civilians not included in the list of the dead attached to the materials of the criminal case of “group 22”? For example, the case of Alisher Daribayev, who was fatally wounded with a bullet on July 2, 2022 near the “Svetlana” market in Nukus, when he left the house to buy food. After his father’s complaints, Daribayev’s body was exhumed in September, later the family received material assistance from state bodies. Even if his name was included in the list after the completion of the investigation against the “group 22”, it is not clear why in December 2022 the General Prosecutor’s Office of Uzbekistan still reported 19 dead to the commission headed by you?
5. Non-governmental organizations have received reports of approximately 50 deaths due to injuries sustained during the events of 1 to 2 July in Karakalpakstan. This is significantly higher than the officially reported death toll of 19. Some of these names, which are not on the official list, were previously published. In the annex to the letter, we send you the names of 33 people who died allegedly during the unrest, but were not included in the official list. Does the commission have any information about the fate of these people?
6. Does the Commission have data on how many of the total number of fatalities died as a result of use of firearms and special equipment by government forces?
7. Does the commission have data on cases of disappearance of citizens in Karakalpakstan in early July 2022?
8. During the trial in case of “group 22”, Dauletmurat Tazhimuratov described in detail the torture to which he was subjected in Karakalpakstan after his detentions on July 1 and 4, 2022, and also reported on the death from torture of his friends Ruslan Ibragimov and Madiyar Orazbayev. Is an investigation being carried out into these facts?
9. There are widespread rumours among the population of Karakalpakstan about the discovery in early August of a large number of male bodies with their hands tied under the Kyzketken Bridge, which may have been allegedly cases of extrajudicial executions related to the events of 1–2.07. Does the commission have this information and has it been verified?
10. Does the commission have information about cases of rape of women and girls detained by law enforcement officers in July 2022 in Karakalpakstan in connection with investigations and inspections related to the events that occurred? We would be very grateful for assistance in obtaining answers to these questions, given the international attention to the topic and the repeated statements of the representatives of Uzbekistan on the country’s adherence to international agreements in the field of human rights and the openness of judicial proceedings related to the events of July 1–2, 2022 in the Karakalpakstan.