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Uzbekistan: The imprisoned writer Mamadali Makhmudov receives a serious head injury

Mamadali site
I saw my father emaciated, he could barely speak or move ... "- says daughter of Mamadali Makhmudov.
 
Since October 26, 2012 Uzbek writer Mamadali Makhmudov has been in hospital-colony UA 64/18, where he had stitches to a wound on the back of his head.
 
The distinguished writer Mamadali Makhmudov (writing under the name of Evril Turon) was born in 1940. A citizen of Uzbekistan, and former chairman of the Cultural Foundation of Uzbekistan, he was the leader of the "Turkestan" movement, created by a group of Uzbek intellectuals and which lasted from 1989 to 1993. Recipient of a Hellman-Hammett grant, awarded to writers who are victims of political persecution, and of the Uzbek literary award "Cholpan", established in memory of the victims of Stalin's purges, which he received for his historical novel "The Immortal Rocks". In 2008, the French publishing house «L'Aube» released the novel in French translation by Philippe Frison.
 
Mamadali Makhmudov`s case requires the urgent involvement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the PEN Club and other international organizations.
 
Immediate needs:
          - Access for representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross;
          - Unimpeded access to a lawyer;
      
On 14th November 2012, Mamadali Makhmudov had a meeting with his daughter. Guards took the writer to a meeting, and remained in the room during the visit. Maybe because of that Mamadali Makhmudov preferred not to say anything about the wound on his head. He only said that he had high blood pressure, 200 to 150, and general weakness. Several years ago, doctors had diagnosed him with tuberculosis.
  • Mamadali Makhmudov`s Case

The writer was arrested on the 26th February 1999. On the 18th August 1999 the Tashkent regional court sentenced him to 14 years in prison under various articles of the criminal code: 25-159 part 4 (threatening the constitutional order), 216 (inducing participation in activities of banned public associations or religious organizations), and 242 part 1 (organization of a criminal group). He is serving his sentence in penal colony UA 64/6 in Chirchik, Tashkent region. This is not the writer's first conviction on trumped up charges.

In 1994 drugs were planted on Mamadali Makhmudov during a search; there was also found a leaflet of the "Erk" party; later he received a sentence for theft. In those years, he was chairman of the Cultural Foundation of Uzbekistan. Public outcry and international movements in his support impacted the authorities and they released him under an amnesty.

  •  System

Mamadali Makhmudov is 72 years old and serving the 13th year of imprisonment. The 1999 sentence ends in February 2014. There are signs of the preparation of new charges against him, under article 221 of the Criminal Code (disobeying legitimate orders of administration of penal institutions), which provides for imprisonment from three to five years. In recent years, this article has been applied more often than usual, in particular in respect of political prisoners, and essentially adds up to a life sentence.

The writer has three children. The family is under constant surveillance by law enforcement agencies. His son Babur was arrested in Tashkent after the Andijan events in May 2005 but was released due to lack of evidence linking him to these events. For more than eight years the sons of Mamadali Makhmudov have not been able get jobs because they are related to the convicted writer.

There is a similar situation with Murat Djuraev, former Member of Parliament of Uzbekistan and former Chairman of the first private commercial bank "Rustam-Bank"; Muhammad Bekzhan, editor of "Erk" magazine; and human rights activist Isroil Holdarov. In 2012, they reached the end of their sentences, but before the date of release they were placed in solitary confinement and then condemned under Article 221 of the Criminal Code.

The Association of "Human Rights in Central Asia" is drawing international attention to the fact that the conditions of Uzbek prisoners contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the commitments made by this country under the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 7, 10, 18, 19, 22, 26); the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (article 15); the UN Declaration on the Right and responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (principles 1, 6, 21).

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia urges all interested individuals, organizations and the media to draw attention to the fate of Mamadali Makhmudov.