Uzbekistan: Student's Suicide Exposes Secret Police Surveillance
The Human Rights Alliance reports that a young woman who returned home to Andijan province after studying abroad in Germany has committed suicide after being tortured in custody, according to uznews.net.
Gulsumoy Abdujalilova was found dead on December 4 in Kurgantepa district of Andijan province after being tortured for four days in police detention, Elena Urlaeva, leader of the Alliance told reporters, citing a statement from Gulsumoy's sister, Mohlara.
Mohlara says that officers of the Uzbek Interior Ministry detained her sister in November when Gulsumoy returned home from Germany, where she had been studying. She said that police demanded that she give false testimony against Muhammad Salih, exiled leader of the opposition Erk Party in Europe.
Upon learning of the unlawful detention, Urlaeva began calling the Interior Ministry's hotline and kept in touch with Mohlara, until Gulsumoy was released and returned home. They agreed that Gulsumoy would call the next day to give an account of her beatings in police custody. Urlaeva urged her to get a doctor's examination and record her injuries.
But before they could follow up, Gulsumoy took some tablets and died. Human rights advocates are concerned that she may have also been raped by police. She left a suicide note, in which she said that "police were trying to force her to murder several opposition members." No more details about the suicide note are available.
Urlaeva believes that Gulsumoy could have been referencing members of the Popular Movement of Uzbekistan (PMU) but was unable to find out anything more, as Mohlara has now stopped taking her phone calls.
The Human Rights Alliance is calling for an investigation and publication of the findings, and also demanding answers about the allegations of plans for assassination of opposition members abroad.
Exiles have long reported the surveillance by Uzbek security services abroad, and it is also known that attempts have been made to recruit students to inform on their fellow Uzbeks outside the country.
Fergananews.com reports that on her Facebook profile, Abdujalilova was described as a member of the PMU.
Hazratkul Hudoyberdi, an Uzbek opposition activist and founder of the website stopdictatorkarimov.com told fergananews.com that he was mystified as to why the Uzbek police singled out Gulsumoy Abdujalilova merely for getting in touch with some of her compatriots abroad via Facebook and discussing a movement for freedom in Uzbekistan.
The PMU was formed in May 2010 in Berlin by émigrés from the long-banned opposition Erk Party and refugees who fled the Andijan massacre.
Fuad Rustamhojaev, a 38-year-old Uzbek émigré businessman who helped set up the PMU and who was actively involved in the organization, was gunned down in late September outside his home in Ivanovo, Russia by unknown persons speaking Uzbek.