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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Azam Farmonov


 

Azam Farmonov is a human rights activist and the Chairman of the Syrdarya regional branch of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (“HRSU”), a non-governmental human rights organization. Mr. Farmonov monitored trials and produced informational pamphlets which were circulated among human rights organizations and distributed to various embassies.  These pamphlets included “My police disgrace me,” and “Where is my right going?,” which documented torture and alleged wrongdoings by the local authorities.

Mr. Farmonov was arrested on April 29, 2006, on charges of extortion.  Earlier that month, he had sent inquiries to the Jizzakh Unitary Petrol Company (Petrol) regarding complaints by local farmers that the regional management of the Petrol company was pretending to give, and charging for, more gas than the farmers actually received. Allegedly, Uzbek government officials informed Farmonov’s friends and family that he had crossed the path of “very powerful” people.  A Petrol employee claimed that Farmonov extorted money from him in exchange for not disclosing the alleged fraud on the internet. Farmonov was convicted in a trial which lasted thirty minutes and during which he was denied the right to legal counsel of his choosing or the right to cross examine any witnesses against him.  He was initially sentenced to nine years in prison after his 2006 arrest, but later his sentence was improperly extended to 14 years.  According to local sources, he repeatedly has been subjected to physical abuse while in detention.