Urgent action to save the life of Mutabar Tadzhibaeva 1

Yet another of the very brave Uzbeks with whom I worked has just been taken in by the Uzbek authorities. She was arrested in the middle of the night by over thirty armed members of the security services, many dressed in full combat gear and with their features obscured by balaclavas. Urgent action is needed to save Mutabar.

I have just sent the following letter to my MP:

Dear Greg Hands,

As I am sure you are aware, Uzbekistan is currently in the grip of an extreme wave of repression as the Uzbek government attempts to clamp down further on any free expression or dissent, following the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Andizhan in May of this year.

Until a year ago I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan. I was, to put it bluntly, sacked. Among many brave human rights activists with whom the British Embassy worked was Mutabar Tadzhibaeva. This brave lady worked continually to help victims of human rights abuse in the Ferghana Valley, despite being continually harassed by the authorities.

On 8 October Mutabar was dragged from her house at 2am in a raid by scores of armed Uzbek troops. She has not been seen since. She had been due the next morning to fly to Dublin for an international human rights conference.

Hundreds of dissidents have been recently subject to torture as the Uzbek government tries to construct a screen of lies to justify the Andizhan massacre. There is a very real danger that Mutabar is currently subject to torture. I should be very grateful if you could urgently contact FCO ministers to ensure that the British Embassy in Tashkent act immediately to determine Mutabar’s whereabouts and to make plain to the Uzbek government that her ill-treatment would bring further international consequences.

Yours sincerely,

Craig J Murray

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