Uzbekistan: Govt lifts terms of probation for human rights defender monitoring forced labor in cotton fields, urged by activists to drop charges against other HRDs

Author: The Cotton Campaign, Published on: 20 April 2018

The Cotton Campaign welcomes the decision of a court in Uzbekistan to lift the terms of probation for human rights defender Uktam Pardaev 10 months early. Pardaev was arrested on November 16, 2015, following his reporting on forced labor during the 2015 cotton harvest. The Uzbek authorities released Pardaev on January 30, 2016, after convicting him to a 5 years 6 months prison term on fabricated charges, and subsequently changing the sentence to 3 years’ probation. Under probation, Pardaev had to register with the police twice a month, and had to obtain police permission to leave his hometown of Jizzak or leave his home after 10 pm...The Uzbek government should also cease its interference in civil society and allow for the opening of civic space in the country by simplifying procedures for registering organizations, lifting undue restrictions on their operations and funding, and ending restrictions on peaceful assembly and expression in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Uzbekistan in 1995. The Cotton Campaign also urges the Uzbek government to drop all criminal and administrative charges and penalties, pending and resolved, against other human rights defenders, including: Fakhriddin Tillayev...Malohat Eshonkoulova...Dmitry Tikhonov...Elena Urlaeva...

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