Speak Up for ‘Disappeared’ Uzbek Prisoner in Russia

Target: Aleksandr Ivanovich Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation

Goal: Demand that the Russian government properly investigate the suspicious disappearance of Uzbek national.

The suspicious disappearance of Yusup Kasymakhunov in mid December 2012 in the Moscow area has prompted concern from human rights groups like Amnesty International, who fear that Kasymakhunov has been abducted by Uzbekistani forces. If this is the case, he is at serious risk of being “held incommunicado,…tortured or otherwise ill-treated.” Call upon Russian authorities to thoroughly investigate Kasymakhunov’s disappearance and to achieve justice for him.

Yusup Kasymakhunov was charged in 2004 with involvement in the Islamist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir. He was tried in Russian courts and sentenced to seven years and four months in prison. In 2011, just as Kasymakhunov’s jail time was up, his native country of Uzbekistan requested an extradition, prompting the prolongation of his imprisonment in Russia. Kasymakhunov has done all he can to appeal the extradition, and outside human rights organizations have done the same. Uzbekistan’s cracking down on alleged members of Islamist groups has led to a precarious human rights situation within the country, with Amnesty International calling the treatment prisoners receive “cruel, inhuman and degrading.”

Kasymakhunov was released from prison in Russia on December 10, 2012 and had requested asylum in Russia before moving to a village where he had an apartment. On December 14, Kasymakhunov made plans to borrow something from a neighbor but never showed up to retrieve the item. Growing suspicious, the neighbor alerted authorities. Upon investigation, it was discovered that Kasymakhunov was missing, although most of his possessions remained undisturbed in his apartment. Only his coat and some papers were gone. Two days prior to his disappearance, Kasymakhunov had been alarmed by two cars following him and parking outside of his apartment.

Human rights activists fear that Kasymakhunov has been abducted and transported to Uzbekistan, where he is being held “either in Tashkent or Andizhan pre-trial detention facility.” Stand up for human rights — tell Russia to fully investigate Kasymakhunov’s disappearance and to work with human rights activists and Uzbekistani authorities to ensure that Kasymakhunov receives a fair trial and proper treatment.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Chairman of the Investigation Committee,

Despite having served out his prison sentence in Russia, Yusup Kasymakhunov was facing extradition to his native Uzbekistan in December 2012 — that is, until he disappeared. Human rights activists around the world are concerned for Kasymakhunov’s safety and fear he may have been abducted by Uzbekistani forces to be held facing trial in Uzbekistan. Regardless of the charges being brought against Kasymakhunov, this is not the proper way to treat prisoners. I urge you to fully investigate Kasymakhunov’s disappearance and to ensure that his kidnappers — whoever they may be — are brought to justice.

Kasymakhunov’s disappearance was the culmination of several days of suspicious and threatening events. Following his December 10 release from prison, Kasymakhunov applied for asylum in Russia and moved to a small village where he had an apartment. On December 12 he noticed he was being followed by two cars that remained parked outside his apartment building while he was at home. On December 14, Kasymakhunov made plans to meet with a neighbor but never followed through. A subsequent search of his apartment revealed that he was missing. The only items gone were his coat and some documents.

The suspicious circumstances of Kasymakhunov’s disappearance and his fraught relationship wit Uzbekistani authorities certainly merit further investigation. Please take a stand for justice and search for answers in the disappearance of Yusup Kasymakhunov.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: WikiImages via Pixabay

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