Four Men Beat Uzbek Journalist’s Lawyer
September 1, 2003
An Uzbek human rights activist trying to help jailed gay journalist Ruslan
Sharipov was abducted and beaten after discussing Sharipov’s appeal with a
judge on Thursday morning, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Surat Ikramov, of the Independent Group for Human Rights Defenders, was
pulled from his car by four men in black masks who tied his arms and legs and
put a plastic bag over his head.
The men beat Ikramov in the back of their car and tightened the plastic bag
to restrict his air supply.
They reportedly left him on the outskirts of Tashkent near the bank of the
Chirchik River. He suffered two broken ribs and a concussion.
Ikramov told HRW that he had received several threatening phone calls in
the days preceding the attack.
Ikramov has been working as a public defender for Sharipov, who was
sentenced earlier this month to five-and-a-half years in prison for
homosexuality and sex with minors.
Ikramov argued that the charges were trumped up and unfair, and he had
organised a protest, which had been scheduled for Friday, HRW said.
“The Uzbek government has a duty to investigate this brutal attack,”
said Rachel Denber, deputy director of HRW’s Europe and Central Asia
“The international community should press the Uzbek government to ensure
that the investigation is thorough and impartial, and should assess carefully
the results of the investigation.”
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