(Brussels 31 January 2005) In the lead-up to tomorrow’s EU-Uzbekistan Cooperation Council Amnesty International has written to the Luxembourg EU Presidency calling for a more robust approach towards Uzbekistan which Amnesty describes as “now the only executioner in Central Asia”.
While Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan have all introduced moratoria on executions, and Turkmenistan has abolished the death penalty, according to a statement by President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan sentenced between 50 and 60 people to death last year.
Amnesty International is calling on the EU to take a firm line on Uzbekistan’s failure to take tangible steps towards the abolition of the death penalty. The EU must ensure that the human rights situation in Uzbekistan is adequately reflected in tomorrow’s talks with the Uzbek government.
In its letter to the EU, Amnesty International points out that in Uzbekistan, death sentences are passed within a criminal justice system that is seriously flawed by widespread corruption and the failure of the courts to investigate allegations of torture. Death row prisoners and their relatives are not informed of the date of execution in advance, and the location of the burial sites of executed prisoners remains secret.
In addition, anti-death penalty activists in Uzbekistan, and their relatives continue to be harassed. There are strong indications that the authorities targeted the mother of a leading human rights activist who was in the Netherlands at the time on a speakers’ tour organized by Amnesty International.
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Email: [email protected]