On 17 May 2013, Tashkent City Criminal Court sentenced six Muslims. These Muslim men were arrested in connection with prominent Uzbek Imam, Obidkhon Nazarov in December 2012. They were residents of Shaykhantahur and Olmazor districts in Tashkent city. BBC Uzbek published about arrests: (bbc.co.uk).
These arrested Muslims were interrogated for 3 months in basement cells of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan. They were not given permission to hire their own lawyers and had only limited access to their state-appointed lawyers. Their relatives were intimidated by Internal Affairs and prevented from giving information to Human Rights Organisations and news agents.
After being postponed for three times a court case against these Muslims began on 9 April in Tashkent City Criminal Court. The court building was surrounded by armed police and special forces.
Main criminal charges against them were; attempting to overthrow the constitutional order of Uzbekistan, distributing materials which threaten public order and organising illegal religious groups. They were accused of breaking at least seven Criminal Code articles: 159, 242, 244 Part 1, 244 Part 2, 243, 223, 177.
In court process it has become evident that the whole case against these Muslims was fabricated and ordered. Neither the Judge nor the Prosecutor reacted to complaints of defendants that confessions extracted from them during the interrogation by using torture.
The prosecutor was mostly absent during the hearings. On 10 May, he demanded prison sentences for defendants ranging from 9 to 20 years.
On 17 May, last words of defendants were heard in court. Then relatives who attended the hearing were told that the court would inform them about the day of court decision and they were sent home. But later the court secretly read the decision.
According to the court`s decision: Shuhrat Tadjibaev was sentenced for 18 years in high security prison, Ahmadjon Karimov va Abdurashid Harunov were sentenced for 15 years each, Bobur Karimov and two other defendants were sentenced for 9 years each.
PMU Correspondent from Tashkent