Uktam Pardayev, an Uzbek human rights defender from Jizzak city, was charged with violation of two articles of the Uzbek Criminal Code – Article 168 (fraud) and Article 211 (bribe) – and arrested.
The investigators accuse Uktam Pardayev of being in cahoots with a woman named Ruhiyo Baitova (who Uktam in fact only saw two times) and of systematically having offered help to different people in the period between 2012 and August 2015, promising them to solve their problems in exchange of money. According to the investigators, Uktam Pardayev, had extorted money from these people but did not fulfill his promise to help them.
These accusations are not backed by anything other than the testimony of a single woman, Ruhiyo Baitova, who apparently is a professional fraudster and who Uktam has met only two times, in June and in August 2014.
Chronicle of Uktam Pardayev’s case:
- Uktam Pardayev was arrested on November 16, 2015.
- On November 18, the senior investigator of the police station in the Dustlik district of Jizzakh region Orif Anarboev made an order to arrest Uktam based on alleged violations of the articles 168 (fraud) and 211 (bribery) of the Uzbek Criminal Code. (The investigator’s order is available).
- In the order, the investigator Orif Anarboev lists nine incidents of people giving money to a woman called Ruhie Baitova in the period between 2012 and August 2015. The nine people confirmed that they had transmitted different amounts of money to Ruhie Baitova and she in return had promised to solve their problems. These problems concerned different areas, for example: the paperwork that is necessary for obtaining a disability pension or a loan at a bank, or the paperwork for sending medicine abroad or for loaning two hectares of land from the hokimiyat.
- In the documents of the investigation, none of the nine “victims” confirmed that he or she had ever transferred money to Uktam Pardayev. Seven of them were not familiar with Uktam at all.
- Ruhiё Baitova, on whose testimonies the prosecution of Uktam is based, is most likely a professional fraudster. She came to Uktam in July 2014 with some sort of complaint and asked him for help. Uktam saw her only twice. He learned that she took money from other people and therefore asked her to write a receipt confirming that he personally did not get any money from her. (This receipt of Baitova is available).
- In addition, in August 2014, Ruhie Baitova told Uktam that an officer of the city police department of Jizzakh suggested her to deposit drugs at the house of Uktam. Mr. Pardayev asked her to confirm this in a written statement. Uktam’s brothers found her statement among his papers. (The statement is available). The statement was also sent to the investigator Anarboev.
- Ruhiё Baitova is most likely a professional fraudster and when she was kept by the police, knowing that she was familiar with Uktam, she was asked to testify against him.
- The investigator Orif Anarboev persuaded Uktam’s brothers to pay a “material compensation” in the amount of about 3.5 million sum, and asserted that if the “material damage ” was reimbursed, Uktam would be amnestied and released.
- On December 7, in the hope of Uktam’s release, his brothers paid the “material compensation” of approximately 3.5 million sum (about $ 700). (the receipt of the payment is available).
- Uktam did not know that his brothers had paid this “compensation”. During his interrogation, Uktam was not shown any receipt of money paid from anyone. (The interrogation protocols are available).
- During the last month, the investigator Anarboev questioned about 100 people asking them a single question: “Has Uktam taken money from you?” No one has confirmed that he or she had given money to Uktam.
- On December 10, the investigator said that there were still five people allegedly claiming that they had paid money to Uktam. According to the lawyer, these five people had previously been convicted of fraud and had problems with the law.
- Uktam remains in custody in a temporary detention center in the Dustlik district of Jizzakh region.