Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, E/CN.4/2005/101/Add.1, March 16, 2005 – Uzbekistan
586. On 16 January 2004, the Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, sent a follow-up urgent appeal concerning Ruslan Sharipov, a 25-year-old journalist and human rights defender. According to the information received, Ruslan Sharipov was allegedly excluded from a general amnesty announced in December 2003 by the President, reportedly on the ground that the crime he committed was “too serious”. According to our previous information, Ruslan Sharipov was arrested on 29 May 2003 and convicted on 13 August by the Tashkent City Court on charges of homosexual conduct, sex with a minor and involving minors in “antisocial behaviour” (articles 120, 128 and 127 of the Criminal Code). He was reportedly first sentenced to five and a half years in prison, which was subsequently reduced to four years following his appeal in September. This was maintained despite reports indicating that forensic medial tests conducted after his arrest found no evidence of sexual relations with minors and despite reported evidence that his confessions were obtained under duress. Reports also indicate that Mr. Sharipov may have been framed in connection to his human rights activities, including his reporting on police corruption and human rights abuses in the country. Fears have been expressed that his exclusion from the presidential general amnesty may aim at further targeting him for his activities in the defense of human rights. It is reported that calls have been made for the presidential general amnesty to extend to his conviction.
590. On 14 April 2004, the Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, sent a follow-up urgent appeal concerning Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist and human rights activist. Ruslan Sharipov was reportedly found guilty on 13 August 2003 under articles 120 (homosexuality) and 128 (sexual relations with a minor) of the Criminal Code, despite the lack of forensic medical evidence, and sentenced on appeal to four years in prison. He was reportedly subjected to torture and threats while in detention. It is widely believed that his prosecution was linked to his work as an investigative journalist and a human rights defender, in particular reporting on corruption and human rights abuses. According to recent information received, Mr. Sharipov, who is reportedly eligible for early release on 11 June 2004, has reportedly been placed since 13 March 2004 under house arrest and is required to report to a low-security prison for work every day. It is reported that such a transfer is automatic once one-quarter of a sentence has been completed. In this context, it is alleged that he has been barred from resuming his human rights and journalism activities, under threat of losing the possibility of early release. In particular, it is reported that Mr. Sharipov will not be allowed to travel to Istanbul in late May 2004 to receive an award on the occasion of the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors’ Forum. [] Please note that this case is also mentioned in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, E/CN.4/2005/64/Add.1, March 29, 2005, paras. 972 and 981. Further details on this case can be found in the report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, E/CN.4/2004/94/Add.3, March 23, 2004, paras. 481 and 487, in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, March 23, 2004, paras. 1878 and 1899, and in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, E/CN.4/2004/62/Add.1, March 26, 2004, paras. 811 and 819.
link to full text of the Report: Report-SR Human Rights Defenders-2005