Daily Archives: December 7, 2007


Freedoms

Samina Malik should not be glamorised. The information we have on her is partial, but plainly in at least one aspect she is a stupid young woman with some desperately unpleasant fantasies. She was given to writing poetry that sickeningly depicted political violence, and delighted in it. She indulged her fantasies on the internet.

I disapprove, strongly, of the “Lyrical terrorist”, but disapprobation of society should not entail criminality. Thoughts should not be crimes, and there is no evidence at all that she had any intention of actually committing violence. I am pleased she has not got a further custodial sentence, but we should not forget that she already spent five months in jail. That is wrong, just as I believe it was wrong for Austria to jail David Irving for his equally misguided views. If you persecute an idea, you strengthen its attraction to some, and unpleasant thoughts of marginal attraction acquire the glamour of grievance.

There is not much difference between those who have seriously penalised Malik for her thoughts, and those who would persecute a school teacher for the naming of a Teddy. Those of us who believe in freedom must uphold it – everywhere.

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Give the Truth For Christmas!

Never Were Truer Words Spoken:

Anyway, buy the book. If for no other reason than Murray deserves some form of income after the way he has been fucked over by his employer, the British government.

http://szekely.blogspot.com/2007/12/murder-in-samarkand.html

That quote is from a very good review by somebody re-reading the book after having visited Uzbekistan. I especially like the bit where he commends me for not pretending to be likeable! I have been saying in interviews that I dislike autobiographies which always appear to be written by people who are perfect themselves but quick to point out the faults in others. Our friend in Csikszereda has found a pithier way to say the same thing.

He is right about my needing the money, too. Christmas is upon us, and you might like to think of those who would benefit from knowing the truths contained in Murder in Samarkand about the world we live in. Give the truth for Christmas!

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The British Ambassador’s Belly Dancer, Arcola Theatre, 8 January to 2 February

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Nadira will be performing in a one woman show to tell her extraordinary and often very harrowing story. This is entirely her point of view, and her perspective is often very different to mine. She reveals some things about me I would perhaps not have voluntered myself, but then that’s freedom of speech! She is now deep in rehearsals, and I really do think this will be an extraordinary theatrical experience.

In 2004 Craig Murray, then British Ambassador for Uzbekistan, made two life changing decisions: he spoke out against the U.K Government using intelligence gained under torture by states such as Uzbekistan and he left his wife and children for a belly dancer he’d met in a nightclub in Tashkent. The first led to Murray being suspended from service and lauded as a hero by many for his continued fight against human rights abuses and in particular Western moral hypocrisy. The second was used to undermine his credibility by his detractors in the media.

This is the extraordinary true story of the life of Craig’s mistress Nadira, dismissed in the British press as a dumb bimbo, she fought tooth and nail to survive in a undemocratic, misogynist regime that practices systematic torture on its citizens. Raped twice, and scraping a living by working as a teacher, drugs runner and belly dancer, Nadira has now completed a foundation course in acting at Rose Bruford and graduated last summer from the Drama Studio. With the help of partner Craig she wishes to tell of her own journey from the slums to the Ambassadorial palace of Uzbekistan and finally a rented flat in Shepherd’s Bush

To book tickets:

http://www.londontheatre.co.uk/londontheatre/whatson/oa-f.htm

There is a facebook group here:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24806760009

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Ikhtiyor Hamroev

Amnesty International have put out the following urgent appeal in the case of Ikhtiyor Hamroev. This means a lot to me because Ikhtiyor came out with his father Bakhtiyor to save me from a potentially extremely dangerous situtation when our Land Rover crashed on the ice in minus 30 degrees centigrade (Murder in Samarkand pages 140 to 143). The Hamroev family have suffered five years of continual assaults since.

Torture/health concern/possible prisoner of conscience

UZBEKISTAN

Ikhtior Khamroev (m), aged 22, student

Ikhtior Khamroev, who has been in jail since September 2006, was

reportedly severely beaten on 29 November. Sources inside the

prison have told his father that Ikhtior had also received stab

wounds to the abdomen, but was locked in a punishment cell rather

than taken to hospital. He is believed to have been detained

because of the activities of his father, a prominent human rights

defender, and may have been beaten to punish his father for his

recent anti-government statements.

He is the son of Bakhtior Khamroev, the head of the Dzhizzakh

section of the independent non-registered Human Rights Society of

Uzbekistan. He was detained in August 2006 on a reportedly

fabricated charge of “hooliganism” following a street fight with

other youths. His father has said he was provoked and acted in

self-defence. He was sentenced to three years in prison the

following month, and is now held in a prison camp in the Dzhizzakh

Region village of Chikurgan. He was severely beaten by prison

staff in December 2006 and refused appropriate medical treatment

for his injuries and other health problems. However, following

sustained international pressure his conditions of detention

improved noticeably: he was no longer ill-treated, received

medical treatment when necessary and was allowed regular visits by

his family.

His family were hoping that Ikhtior might be released early under

a December 2007 presidential amnesty, but when his mother visited

him on 29 November he told her that his sentence had been extended

by seven months for alleged “disciplinary offences”. He feared the

authorities would use this as a pretext to disqualify him from the

amnesty.

Sources inside the prison camp told Bakhtior Khamroev when he

visited on 1 December that during the night of 29 November Ikhtior

had been taken by prison guards to a punishment cell where he was

badly beaten, to force him to admit to further disciplinary

offences, which would almost certainly bar him from early release.

According to the same sources Ikhtior stabbed himself in the

abdomen in protest. It is not clear how he would have had a knife.

He was apparently refused appropriate medical treatment, and

locked in a punishment cell. The prison director has refused to

allow his parents to visit him, and has given them no details of

where he is held or his medical condition.

Since Ikhtior has been in prison, Bakhtior Khamroev had been less

outspoken in his criticism of the authorities’ human rights

record, so as not to worsen his son’s treatment. However he did

criticise them publicly at an international conference on human

rights defenders in the Irish capital, Dublin, at the end of

November, and so it is possible that Ikhtior was beaten to punish

his father. Bakhtior Khamroev made his speech just days after the

UN Committee against Torture concluded that torture and impunity

remained routine in Uzbekistan and criticized the authorities for

their harsh treatment of human rights defenders.

Bakhrom Khamroev has told human rights activists that the

authorities have stepped up their surveillance of him and his

family and that all his movements are closely monitored. .

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The situation for human rights defenders in Uzbekistan has

deteriorated during 2007, and the authorities have further

restricted their freedom of speech, assembly and movement in the

run-up to the December presidential elections. In the first four

months of 2007 two human rights defenders and an opposition

political activist were sentenced to long prison terms on what

appeared to be politically-motivated charges. Those human rights

activists not forced into exile and not in detention were

routinely monitored by uniformed or plainclothes police, called in

to their local police stations for questioning, placed under house

arrest or otherwise prevented from attending meetings with foreign

diplomats, or from taking part in peaceful demonstrations. Human

rights defenders reported being threatened by members of the

security forces for carrying out legitimate activities; several

reported being beaten and detained by police or people they

thought were working for the security services.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as

possible, in Russian, Uzbek, English or your own language:

– expressing concern at reports that Ikhtior Khamroev was severely

beaten on 29 November and that the prison authorities have refused

him the medical treatment he needs;

– urging the authorities to disclose Ikhtior Khamroev’s

whereabouts immediately;

– urging them to ensure that he receives all the medical treatment

he requires and is allowed visits from his family;

– calling on the authorities to promptly investigate the

allegations of ill-treatment and bring those responsible to

justice.

APPEALS TO: (Time difference = GMT + 5 hrs / BST + 4 hrs)

President, Islam KARIMOV

Presidential Residence, ul. Uzbekistanskaya, 43, g. Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN

Fax: 00998 71 139 53 25,

Email: [email protected]

[Salutation: Dear President Karimov]

Head of the Prison Service, Abdukarim SHODIEV

Ministry of Internal Affairs

UZBYM MVD Respubliki Uzbekistan,25, Ferganskoye shosse, 700005 g. Tashkent,UZBEKISTAN

Fax: 00998 71 133 89 34

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

[Salutation: Dear Minister]

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: His Excellency Mr Tukhtapulat Riskiev, Embassy of the

Republic of Uzbekistan, 41 Holland Park, London W11 3RP.

Fax: 020 7229 7029

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.uzbekembassy.org

AND, IF POSSIBLE, TO THE FOLLOWING:

Director of prison camp where Ikhtior Khamroev is held

Sobir MINGBAEV

KIN UYa 64/78, p Chimkurgan, Zafarzhan district, Dzhizzakh region,

UZBEKISTAN

[Salutation: Dear Director]

Head of the Dzhizzakh Regional Department of Internal Affairs

Zhaloliddin AKBAEV

ul. Narimanova 30, 708000 g. Dzhizzakh. Dzhizzakh region,

UZBEKISTAN

Fax: 00998 72 226 03 02;

[Salutation: Dear Zhaloliddin Akbaev]

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Please do not send appeals after

16 January 2008.

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