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Uzbek human rights activist dies in prison

The Uzbekistan government should immediately allow an independent investigation into the enforced disappearance and death in prison of a human rights and opposition activist Nuraddin Jumaniyazov, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 16, 2017, Gulnora Rahmonova, his widow, reported that her husband had died in prison on December 31, 2016, from tuberculosis and diabetes-related complications.

Jumaniyazov was unlawfully imprisoned in 2014 on politically motivated charges. Uzbek authorities had refused to reveal his whereabouts or allow him any contact with his family or attorney since 2015, despite numerous calls by Human Rights Watch and other organizations to seek information about his situation. The refusal to provide information on the fate or whereabouts of a person deprived of their liberty constitutes an enforced disappearance, a crime under international law, and is prohibited in all circumstances.

“Nuraddin Jumaniyazov, who should have never been imprisoned, died in prison, hidden from his loved ones and the world,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The tragic death of this human rights defender in Uzbekistan casts serious doubt on the government’s claims that the country is undergoing meaningful reforms.”

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