Mutabar Tadjibayeva in 2008 when handed the Martin Ennals Award for the defenders of human rights
|Born||Mutabar Ibrakhimovna Tadjibayeva
25 August 1962
|Subject||Human rights defender|
|Notable awards||Martin Ennals Award 2008, U.S. State Department "Women of Courage" 2009|
Mutabar Tadjibayeva (Uzbek: Mo'tabar Tojiboyeva) is an independent journalist and human rights activist. She is a founder of the International Human Rights Organization ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’. Tadjibayeva monitored human rights implementation and carried out journalist investigations. She participated in investigative actions and judicial trials as a defense counsel and authorized representative in Uzbekistan.
Tadjibayeva is also a founder of the Popular Movement ‘’Civil Society’’. She was arrested on 7 October 2005 just before leaving to Dublin where she was due to attend an international conference on human rights protection. Mutabar Tadjibayeva was accused in breaching the 18 articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. She was convicted on 13 counts and sentenced to 8 years in prison for criticizing the Uzbek government for having used violence against the participants of the peaceful demonstration in Andijan in 2005.
In 2005 the international organization ‘’Peace Women Across the Globe’’ under the Nobel Committee included Mutabar Tadjibayeva’s name to the list of ‘’1000 women peace activists’’, thus making her the official nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
On May 15, 2008, when she was still in prison, Mutabar Tadjibayeva was awarded with the Martin Ennals Award. The same day the bloggers who wrote about human rights announced top 10 list of the women who had played the most significant role in human rights protection. Mutabar Tadjibayeva was among them. On July 2, 2008, Tadjibayeva was released. The Martin Ennals Award Ceremony was held in Geneva on November 20, 2008. For the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’ was awarded with the French Republic's “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” Prize. On December 10, 2008, Mutabar Tadjibayeva was awarded with the same prize during the ceremony in Paris.
In March 2009, Tadjibayeva received an award International Women of Courage established by the State Department of the USA. Later she returned the award because of her own principles. In august she became a member of the Internation Council of the Human Rights Found. In 2011 Mutabar Tadjibayeva appeared in the list of the ten most influential women in Central Asia. In 2011 she wrote a book ‘’Prisoner of Torture Island’’. In the book, Tadjibayeva shares her memories and tells about the atrocities of the Uzbek government over its people. The book will be translated into English, Russian, French and Uzbek.
Mutabar Tadjibayeva is now a political refugee and lives in Ile-de-France. At present she is at the head of the International Human Rights Organization ‘’Fiery Hearts’’, registered and based in Paris.
Mutabar Tadjibayeva was born on August 25, 1962, in Margilan, Ferghana region, into a workers’ family. Her father is Ibrahim Tadjibayev, her mother – Kandolathon Uljayeva. In 1937 Uljaboy Khamrakulov, her maternal grandfather, was declared public enemy and exiled to Siberia with his family. Since then he had been being transferred all over the Soviet Union. In 1946 for having served in the ranks of partisans against the German invaders he was rehabilitated by the Soviet government and returned to the homeland. During World War II, Kandolathon Uljayeva met her future husband in Ukraine. Ibrahim Tadjibayev was a soldier of the Soviet Army. They married in 1944 and their first son was born in Ukraine. Although Mutabar Tadjibayeva was not eyewitness of those events, her mother’s memories played a significant role in her maturing as a human rights defender.
In 1969 Mutabar Tadjibayeva entered the school №7 in Margilan named after Khamzy. From 1987 to 1989 she studied by correspondence in Margilan technical secondary school of economic planning and was conferred a diploma in economics. At the same time she completed journalism courses under the Press department of Ferghana region.
After graduation in 1979, Mutabar Tadjibayeva had worked as a spinner at the Margilan filature for one year. In 1980 she started working as an assistant at a State notary office in Akhunbabayevsky district. In 1981 Tadjibayeva got an office secretary job in the District Department of Agriculture. In 1985 she continued her labor activity as an inspector at the Public Control Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan. At the same time, on a voluntary basis, Tadjibayeva was in charge of the complaint department and the press centre of the institution in question. Within this organization she took an active part in monitoring the implementation of laws and human rights. There for the first time Mutabar Tadjibayeva personally saw the efficiency of public relations. As a designated employee of the press centre, she also took an active part in agitation and propaganda activities concerning the implementation of laws approved by the Uzbek government. Tadjibayeva started to declaim against the executives abusing their authority and rights of simple citizens in the central and local press. This work influenced in a significant way on her maturing as a human rights activist. In 1991 as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Public Control Committee was dissolved as well. And till 1997 Mutabar Tadjibayeva continued her activity in the banking industry, including the position of the Head of Human Resources, the economist of currency circulation department, the Chief economist at the Industrial and Construction Bank of Uzbekistan and the Public bank of Kirguliysky district. From 1997 to 1998 she headed agitation and propaganda centre of the Union of Writers of Ferghana district. Tadjibayeva published her first brochure ‘’Memory’’. At the same time she continued her human rights activity and issued her critical materials in the republican media. From 1998 to 1999 Tadjibayeva held an appointment as a Deputy Head of Department of Ferghana region at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Human rights activity
In the elections in December 1999, Mutabar Tadjibayeva was a candidate for deputy to the Regional Council of Fergana. She pursued bringing to the agenda the passage of the law concerning the organization of public control of the legislative acts implementation. However, Tadjibayeva failed to break through in the elections. For realization of her plans she became a member of the People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDPU). In January 2000, Mutabar Tadjibayeva was elected secretary of the PDPU party unit of Margilan called ‘’Zukhro’’. There she founded the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’. The event can be considered as her official entry to the human rights field. With the support of the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’a brochure called ‘’Let Us Be Vigilant’’ was published in 2001. In January 2002, at the plenary session of the municipal council of Margilan two-year activity of the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’ was discussed. The plenum positively appreciated the club’s progresses in crime and drug abuse fighting and adopted a resolution on popularization the club’s practices throughout the Republic. Subsequently, articles, feature stories, special reports about the club’s activity were issued in the local and republican media.
Alimuhammad Mamadaliev's case and it’s consequences
In 2002 Mutabar Tadjibayeva was monitoring the case of Alimuhammad Mamadaliev, tortured and killed by special services. She took an active part in informing a wide pulic about the drama. As a result the case was examined by the Military Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Merders of Mamadaliev were convicted to heavy terms of imprisonment. On June 30, 2002, Mutabar Tadjibayeva together with Scott Peterson, a correspondent of the international newspaper ‘’Christian Science Monitoring’’, visited Durmen village, where Mamadaliev’s family lived. They were carrying out journalistic investigation and questioning villagers about local administrative authorities’ threats. The next day, on July 1, 2002, traffic police of Kirgulijsky district pulled over Tadjibayeva’s car and arrested her. They grilled and humbled Mutabar Tadjibayeva without formal procedure. She was brought to the department of internal affairs and placed in a basement cell. That night internal affairs officers raped her. The next day Tadjibayeva was accused in breaching the articles ‘’Failure to obey order or regulation issued by a police officer’’ and ‘’Disorderly conduct’’. Due to the lack of accusatory documents presented to the court as well as Mutabar Tadjibayeva’s claims to arrange medico-legal assessment, the case was transferred to the Public Prosecutor's Office and she was released from the courtroom. On September 5, 2002, the Criminal Court of Fergana region recognized illegal the actions of Kirgulijsky district officers. On September 27, the Public Prosecutor's Office of Kirgulijsky district initiated criminal proceedings. However, on December 16, 2002, the case was dismissed ‘’in the absence of crime in the acts of the officers’’. Mamadaliev’s case aggravated the confrontation between Tadjibayeva and the authorities. Due to that event, the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’ and its leader gained even higher authority among people and that caused the increase in their activity.
Aggravation of the situation
On October 14, 2002, on Mutabar Tadjibayeva’s initiative there was held a picket in front of the Crime Court of Alty-Aryksky district. On November 7, 2002, she made public an official demand on behalf of the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’, for the manifestation that was going to be held on November 8 in front of the building of the Parliament against the violation of citizens’ constitutional rights. She sent her leaflet to all the administrative authorities. The Prosecutor General's Office executive Bakhadyr Pulatov came to Ferghana region to check the arguments of the demand and met Tadjibayeva. However, he didn’t complete the inspection and left for Tashkent. 4 days before the demonstration Tadjibayeva was summoned to the prosecutor of Ferghana Talib Khasanov who insisted on the demonstration to be cancelled otherwise he threatened to initiate criminal proceedings against Tadjibayeva and delivered her a warning letter. When Mutabar Tadjibayeva refused the letter the prosecutor send her the second warning. The document warned her against continuation of the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’ activity otherwise another criminal case would be initiated against her. On December 5, 2002, Tadjibayeva got a call from the Ferghana region Department of internal affairs. She was informed about legal proceedings initiated, but didn’t present herself in the court. On December 6, Mutabar was informed that she had to present herself in the court, otherwise it would be done by enforcement. After making sure the case had been faked-up against the planned demonstration, Tadjibayeva decided not to present herself in the court and hid in Durmen. The same evening police officers, special services and militaries surrounded Durmen. They explained to the villagers that Mutabar Tadjibayeva was a western agent and demanded her extradition. However, nobody supported the public officers, so they started conducting a search. On December 10, 2002, Mutabar Tadjibayeva found out that aiming to bring pressure on her, the police officers were planning to take her daughter hostage. So disguised as an old woman Mutabar left the village. Then she called to the Internal Affairs Department of Ferghana region and expressed her will to succumb to the authorities in return of abatement of persecution and pressure.
At the beginning of December 2003, one of high officials of the Internal Affairs Department of Ferghana region called Tadjibayeva in sozzled state and told her that she would be punished for her actions and that her days had been already numbered. On December 12, Mutabar Tadjibayeva came to the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Uzbekistan and demanded the abatement of persecution against her. However, the agency’s chief executives refused to receive her. The next day on her way to Ferghana region Mutabar Tadjibayeva had a car accident and spent 12 days in hospital. According to Mutabar, that was not a simple accident as she was the only victim and it happened after the phone call with threats. As the car accident took place in Tashkent region, Tadjibayeva was taken to the hospital in Akhangaransky district. The victim wasn’t informed about the results of criminal proceedings initiated over the accident. Her demands to see the documents concerning the case were not satisfied. Tadjibayeva came back to Margilan and continued medical treatment there. Later she got to know that her medical papers had been destroyed by fire of unknown origin.
On April 4, 2005, Mutabar Tadjibayeva sent a telegram to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on behalf of the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’ expounding a difficult socio-political situation in Andijan region. On April 13, she was detained by police officers of Bektemirsky district, later transferred to the Internal Affairs Department and interrogated. Under the pressure of international NGOs as well as foreign embassies, Mutabar was released. On April 15, 2005, in the Ministry of Internal of the Republic of Uzbekistan there was held a press conference concerning published under the pseudonym of the political scientist Safar Abdulaev. Mutabar Tadjibayeva wanted to participate in the conference, but on her way to the conference, she was stopped by traffic police and taken away by unknown individuals in another car. After having changed several cars, she was brought to the Internal Affairs Department of Bektemirsky district. There Mutabar was subject to a stern interrogation and humiliation. Back to Margilan Tadjibayeva got under medical treatment in a local hospital, however she didn’t turn to anybody concerning the violences and tortures that she had undergone. That was because the high official that was in charge of Tadjibayeva’s detention as well as mockery at her, told her to keep silence, otherwise he threatened to make her daughter experience the same adventure as hers. During the events in Andijan on May 13, 2005, Mutabar Tadjibayeva was placed under house arrest for no reason. There were two armed police officers watching her dwelling. In such conditions, Mutabar achieved to relate the participants of Andijan events with international journalists. The same day at about 5 pm, chief executives of the Counter-Terrorism Department under the Internal Affairs Department of Ferghana region ordered to transfer Tadjibayeva to the regional Internal Affairs Department. She was detained till May 16, 2005 and prohibited to contact with anybody.
During the legal proceedings concerning the Andijan events initiated on September 20, 2005, the Deputy Solicitor General of the Republic accused Tadjibayeva in antigovernment activity under the false name of a human rights activist. Mutabar Tadjibayeva was invited to an international conference on human rights protection in Dublin fixed on October 8, 2005. She was expected to make a speech at the conference on the Andijan events. However, on October 7, 2005, Mutabar Tadjibayeva was arrested by security officers of the Ministry of Interior of Uzbekistan on a charge of deceptive practices. After the arrest the house of Tadjibayeva was searched and her personal affairs were confiscated. Despite the fact that only Mutabar Tadjibaeva in person was incriminated, the members of the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’’ were searched as well, besides all the documents and materials (videotapes, audio cassettes, etc.) were confiscated too. For 10 days Mutabar was being detained in temporary detention facilities of Ferghana region. Later on, she was kept in other pretrial detention facilities for 4 months and underwent numerous interrogations. During the investigation Mutabar had finally learnt the reasons of her arrest. It was human rights activity against the interests of administrative officials and the ‘’Fiery Hearts Club’s’’ governing.
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