July 20, 2003
UZBEKISTAN: OPEN LETTER OF MUSLIM PRISONER WOMEN TO ISLAM KARIMOV
Source: Muslim Uzbekistan Uploaded/Updated:
To: Islam Karimov, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan To: Rashid Kadirov, the Chief Prosecutor CC: Human Rights OrganisationsCC: Mass Media
From: Muslim women in jail KIN-7 (64/7) in Tashkent city
Dear Mister President. We are feeble women appealing to you about the tortures, oppressions and open slanders that we are suffering from in these days. For every person in our country, as well as for us, your name is given as an assuror of protecting citizens’ rights by constitution. That gives us a hope to ask about our rights which have been being trampled for a long time.
We are compelled to send our open letter as open because we have not seen any response for our previous letters which we sent to the Minster of Internal Affairs and Chief Prosecutor.
Mister President, we are informing you about severe conditions of prisons, especially women’s prisons, which is seen as one of the main structures in our society. We hope you’ll act in order to remove tortures and oppressions put on us and help to change the conditions of feeble wronged women for better.
Firstly, we remind that, we were imprisoned illegally by putting outlawed things (e.g. hashish, drugs, etc.) to our handbags and houses. Actually, we were imprisoned because we are Muslims and because we were practicing our religion.
Amongst us there are nursing mothers whose nursing babies were pulled out from their hands. All of our children are left without education, without care and without nutrition. This is because most of us do not have husbands. They were imprisoned or they run away from these tortures to other countries. We were allegedly charged with 159th article of Criminal Codex of Uzbekistan and than we were detained. The prosecutors blamed us with slanders like ‘women who want to make a revolution and combat the state’. It sounds very strange; however, these slanders were ratified by ‘the independent and glorified court’.
As we describe our condition, righteous people will not consider these tortures and oppressions not even to their enemies nor to the animals.
Mister President! In addition to these slandered imprisonment we have not benefited from any of your amnesty so far. However, in the 1st article of your every amnesty indicates a great grand to women ‘release all women’. Except that the other bands of amnesty will not be implemented even if we are ill and left disable. However, not a single Muslim woman has been released under your amnesty. Because of that we are considering these that we are Muslims and we are not the subject of the amnesty. Why nobody is controlling the performance of the amnesty in practice?
Our scarves were taken away from our heads. If we wear a dress which covers our knees, all our dress will be torn away putting us into shame. We are deprived of praying to our Creator, and we hear brutal words because of praying or reciting Qur’an.
Any kind of oppression, any kind of outrage, or any kind of violence is firstly directed to Muslim women in this prison. If one of us doesn’t feel well, they cause a clash saying ‘why Muslims are lying down’.
If we perform prayer or recite Qur’an we’ll be blamed with words ‘the 159ths don’t keep the routine’ and there will be filed the note ‘infringer of the routine’. This means that we will not be subjected to the amnesty.
Even if there is a job cut in factories, all of us who are charged with 159th article are called to work. Elderly ladies and those who are not able to work amongst us are forced to work too.
When we ask why they are hard-hearted to us, the answer we get: “We are just applying a code of conduct sent by the top, there’s nothing to do with us”.
We are allowed to meet our relatives once in six months. Moreover, we are deliberately given the smallest and the coldest rooms. It’s impossible to use dishes and duvets and pillows we are given.
Those who are fed up with all these degradation and ask their rights, are accused of ‘trying to hit prisoner officers, beating them up’ or ‘violating the rules and regulations of the prison’ and thrown to a DZO (a punishment cell).
Recently, 7 Muslim women are vainly doomed to DZO (a special punishment cell) from seven days to one month. Do you want us to give an inside story about DZO?
DZO is a two or two-and-a-half to three metre square undersized and damp punishment cell, there is a plastic window in its ceiling. There is tiny hole left behind double steel doors. Two foldable double storied wooden beds are attached to two sides of this small room, and the room is presumed to bed 4 people.
Those beds are allegedly locked up to the wall all day in order to prevent prisoners from sleeping. There is always water in the floor. When there is a high pressure in evenings, water from sewage overflows to the room. There are no appliances at all. All clothes apart from one dress of a woman who are doomed to the cells are taken away.
At 7 a.m. we are given two-spoonful rice boiled in bare water, a loaf of bread and tasteless tea for breakfast; little soup with a loaf of bread without tea or water for lunch; and same things given for breakfast are given for dinner. It might be possible to remain alive with that food. Besides, we don’t get any water or tissue after going to toilet. We don’t have any choice other than having our food with these dirty hands and even praying like this. Imagine that if somebody goes to toilet in this 2×3 square metre cell, it would be merely impossible to breathe. Because there is no air conditioner in rooms, it becomes very stifling. At 9 p.m. prison officers unlock and unfold wooden beds for sleeping. At 5 a.m. they open cell doors and quickly bring us to washer room. On return, we find our beds folded and locked up to the wall. Exhausted by standing whole day, we slowly lie down to damp and wet floor. Guards check us and our empty room thoroughly twice a day. After checking, one of the inspectors leaves here as a guard. This maltreatment is intentionally designed for disturbing and making psychological attack. Anybody who has been DZO is surely affected in terms of health and psychological state.
A person who has been in this house of torture for 2-3 days definitely looses his/her health. Just imagine how our Muslim sisters are living in these rooms with one dress for 30 days…
Most of these women are unhealthy or even disabled. Even if officers know that it is almost impossible for them [women] to survive from DZO, they [officers] do this deliberately in order to show others as an example. As we think 7 Muslim women put DZO, we feel sorry for their sorrowful and grieved condition. This event was the main purpose for making this complaint.
Their ‘sin’ was their request to free a woman who has severe heart disease from DZO and to send her to hospital for treatment.
If reporters from broadcasting companies or inspectors of some organisations arrive at hospital and take interview asking the conditions inside the prison, those women who tell them the truth will be punished after guests leave – they are put to DZO.
We poor women are left amongst too many ‘flames’. We were imprisoned for no reason. Moreover, if we complain about the conditions we are in – we will be imprisoned again. If we express our dissatisfaction – we are jailed again. Is there any obstruction to these oppressions? Who will protect our degraded honour?! Who will protect our rights?! Whom should we tell our complaints?!
Mister President! AS you are an assuror of protecting the rights of citizens of Uzbekistan, we ask you to preserve our rights fully. First of all, let unlawful punishment end. Let our sisters who are forced to live in DZO free from those punishment rooms! Let Muslim women benefit from amnesties!
Let those Muslim mothers and sisters who were imprisoned unlawfully free and return to their homes. Let all oppressors of imprisoned women discipline!
We know that there are many praiseworthy people in the world, who are hostile to any kinds of oppression, unlawfulness and brutality. We are sure that righteous people will not keep silence in front of these oppressions; the oppressions which have been practiced by ‘law and order protecting’ bodies, the oppressors whose victims are women.
Praying to Allah alone, we hope that Mister President preserves the rights of his poor citizens, frees them.
Ahmadaliyeva R.A. – signed.
Abbaskhujayeva N. – signed.
Tursunova S.I. – signed.
Olimjonova O.K. – signed.
Mirzaahmedova M. – signed.
Musayeva Sh. – signed.
Najmiddinova I.A. – signed.
Isakova Z. – signed.
Rahmanova U. – signed.
Usmanova N. – signed.
Hamdamova M.J. – signed.
Abduvaliyeva M. – signed.
Yerbalayeva K.A. – signed.
Gafurova K. – signed.
Tumanova F. – signed.
Muydinova O.N. – signed.
Sultanova R. – signed.
Sultanova I. -signed.
Lukmanova D. – signed.
Lakayeva A. – signed.
Kurbangaliyeva M. – signed.