Tashkent security forces interrogate detainees and abduct asylum-seekers in Russia with impunity, say rights activists.
Officers from Uzbekistan’s secret service are being allowed to interrogate and mistreat people held in Russian prisons, according to the Moscow-based human rights group Memorial.
The group claimed that in one such case, a 19-year-old Abdusamat Fazletdinov committed suicide in December. The same month, Latif Jalalbaev, serving a sentence in Russia’s Kaliningrad region, was interrogated by officers from Uzbekistan’s National Security Service or SNB, who beat him and threatened him with extradition and death in an Uzbek jail.
In an interview for News Briefing CentralAsia, Yelena Ryabinina, head of the asylum rights program at the Moscow-based Institute for Human Rights, explained why the Russian authorities were giving a foreign security access to detainees.
Yelena Ryabinina: I fear that the tragic death of Abdusamat Fazletdinov will not be investigated, because the Russian authorities would then have to admit that Uzbek security officers are operating on their territory and being allowed to go into prisons. This pessimistic view comes from the fact that abductions and forcible removals of asylum-seekers from Russia have never been properly investigated.
Russia and Uzbekistan are committed to cooperation on security matters as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The SCO has been described as “the most dangerous organization that the American people have never heard of,” an authoritarian international for Eurasia’s illiberal regimes, and “one of those international bodies whose proclaimed ideals conceal an often sordid reality.”
The SCO’s approach to counter-terrorism is modeled on China’s Three Evils doctrine for combating terrorism, extremism and separatism, even if, as one study notes, this has “too often acted as cover for suppression of ….legitimate opposition groups and the cutting-off of trans-regional ties between them.”
The SCO focus on territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, and social stability “contributes to supporting repressive regimes at the expense of national, regional, and global human rights,” according to a recent whitepaper from Human Rights in China.