2007: UZBEKISTAN:Umida Niazova

President Islam KARIMOV,
Rezidentsia prezidenta,
ul. Uzbekistanskaia 43, 700163
Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
Fax: + 998 71 139 53 25
email: presidents_office@press-service.uz

Oslo, 21 February 2007

Dear President Karimov,

As Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, I am deeply concerned for the safety and the well-being of independent human rights defender and journalist Umida Niazova, who has been in detention in Uzbekistan since 22 January 2007. I consider Umida Niazova to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for carrying out her human rights activities, and I call for her to be released from detention immediately and unconditionally.

I fear for Umida Niazova’s health, and I urge you, Mr President, to guarantee that she will not be tortured or ill-treated in detention and that she will get access to necessary medical attention;

I also urge you to ensure that everyone can peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression in conformity with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uzbekistan is a State Party;

I kindly request you, Mr President, to remind the authorities of the right of human rights defenders to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Confident that you, Mr President, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W.Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir NOROV
Ministerstvo inostrannikh del RU, Mustakillik pl. 5, 700029 Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
Fax: +998 71 139 15 17, e-mail: rnews@mfa.uz