Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of the right to freedom of opinion: Summary of cases, A/HRC/17/27/Add.1, 27 May 2011: Uzbekistan
2260. On 11 May 2010, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, sent a letter of allegation concerning the sentencing of Mr. Maxim Popov, psychologist, founder and director of the non-governmental organization Izis, founded by young medical professionals which works on HIV/AIDS prevention. Izis has also implemented HIV prevention activities, including under contracts with UNICEF, UNFPA and UNAIDS.
2261. According to the information received, Mr. Maxim Popov was arrested in January 2009 and convicted in July 2009. His conviction was publicly disclosed only at the end of February 2010. Mr. Popov was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for charges which included theft by embezzlement, concealment of foreign currency, tax evasion, inducing minors to antisocial behaviour, indecent assault without violence against a minor and inducing engagement in the use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
2262. It is believed that Mr. Popov was convicted in connection with writing and distributing HIV/AIDS prevention materials. Mr. Maxim Popov is the author of the brochure “HIV and AIDS today”, a publication funded by UNAIDS and UNICEF. He was also convicted for distributing HIV prevention materials published by UNAIDS and other UN agencies to adolescents that explicitly refer to drug use, sex work and homosexuality.
2263. Concern was expressed that the arrest and sentencing of Mr. Maxim Popov may be related to his peaceful activities in defence of human rights, in particular his work on HIV/AIDS prevention
The case of Maxim Popov
2273. Maxim Vladimirovich Popov, an Uzbek national and executive director of the voluntary organization IZIS, was found guilty by the Chilanzar District Criminal Court on 9 June 2009 of committing offences under articles 167, paragraph 3 (a); 178, paragraph 2 (a) and (c); 184, paragraph 3; 127, paragraph 3 (b) and (c); 129, paragraph 1; 274, paragraph 2 (c); and, in accordance with articles 45, 59 and 61 of the Criminal Code, was sentenced to seven years’ deprivation of freedom and stripped of the right to occupy any office relating to the direction of an organization or economic administration for two years. This sentence was upheld by the Tashkent Criminal Court, Appeal Division, on 14 July 2009.
2276. Moreover, in pursuance of his vile beliefs, which led him to entice young people into using narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to encourage an antisocial and amoral way of life by acting on their unformed minds and outlook, Popov distributed in Uzbek educational establishments attended by schoolchildren and students engaging in academic, sporting or communal activities a book that promoted narcotic drug use and antisocial behaviour among the young over the period 2006–2007. The book was entitled Healthy Lifestyles. Teacher’s Guide XXI, 200 copies of which he had received under the contract with PSI. Popov was well aware of the nature of the book’s contents.
2277. Knowing what the book contained, Popov deliberately distributed this book with a view to the promotion of depraved acts by persons whom he knew to be under 16. The book contained texts instructing young people in sexual activities and propaganda for homosexuality, prostitution and pornographic images among young people, including those attending educational institutions in Uzbekistan.
Link to full text of the report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27.Add.1_EFSonly.pdf