Mutabar Tadjibayeva v. Uzbekistan
Mutabar Tadjibayeva is one of Uzbekistan’s most well known human rights defenders. She has denounced human rights violations in eastern Uzbekistan for several years and had forcibly condemned the shooting and killing of hundreds of unarmed civilians by government forces in the city of Andijan in May 2005. She also founded and headed the human rights organisation Fiery Hearts Club in eastern Uzbekistan. It now runs from Paris, where she has been living as a refugee since 2009.
In 2005, five months after the Andijan massacre, she was arrested by masked and armed security forces who rushed into her home. She was charged on 18 counts of criminal activity, including tax fraud and membership of an illegal organisation – her own human rights group. In 2006, she was sentenced to eight years in prison following a trial that violated fair standards. She was denied the right to prepare a proper defence or cross-examine key prosecution witnesses. Her conviction was upheld on appeal.
After her sentencing, Tadjibayeva spent almost two years and eight months in prison, where she suffered severe torture and ill-treatment, including being beaten, hung from a hook, forced to stand naked in the cold until she fell unconscious, and encouraged by prison guards to commit suicide. She was also forced to undergo an operation to remove her uterus. Up to this day, she has not been able to see her full medical records or know the reason for her operation. Tadjibayeva also endured torture and ill-treatment in the years prior to her imprisonment. In April 2005, she was kidnapped by several men believed to be security officers and taken to the Department of Internal Affairs, where was interrogated about her human rights activities, beaten and gang-raped by several men.
In 2005, Tadjibayeva was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and in 2008 she received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders while the Fiery Hearts Club she founded was awarded the Medaille de la République Française de la Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. She was freed in June 2008, after intensive efforts by diplomats and human rights organisations.
On 12 December 2012, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and REDRESS filed a complaint on Mrs Tadjibayeva’s behalf against Uzbekistan before the UN Human Rights Committee.