UN expert on torture calls on Germany to prosecute Uzbek Interior Minister

Manfred Nowak

19 December 2005 – A United Nations expert on torture has called on the German authorities to prosecute Uzbekistan’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Zokirjon Almatov, who is currently in Germany for treatment, after several survivors of torture filed a case against him in the German courts.

The Special Rapporteur on torture of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Manfred Nowak, noted that his predecessor visited Uzbekistan in 2002 and concluded that torture is systematic in the former Soviet Central Asian country.

“He also said that torture appears to be used indiscriminately against persons charged with serious crimes such as acts against State interests, as well as petty criminals and others,” Mr. Nowak said in a statement.

These concerns have been exacerbated by the findings of a report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that the military and security forces committed grave human rights violations while curbing demonstrations in the eastern city of Andijan in May, he added.

“The Special Rapporteur recalls that victims of torture have a right to legal redress [for] crimes of torture, that torture is subject to universal jurisdiction and that States are under the obligation to investigate allegations of torture, independently of where such acts have occurred,” Mr. Nowak said.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who receive their mandate from the Commission and report back to it.

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