Uzbek Rights Activist Fined For Holding 'Unsanctioned Gathering'

April 06, 2011

An Uzbek rights activist has been fined 3.5 million soms ($2,100) by a Tashkent court for holding an unsanctioned gathering in the capital, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Abdullo Tojiboy Ogli was arrested on April 4 as he addressed a group of unskilled workers at Tashkent's Qoyliq Bazaar.

Witnesses said some 300 people were listening to Tojiboy Ogli as he discussed workers' rights and their right to travel within Uzbekistan.

Unskilled workers in Tashkent are often taken advantage of by police because many of them come from rural areas and are living illegally in the capital.

"Their biggest problem is that police will arrest them anywhere, take their passport, and extort money from them," Tojiboy Ogli told RFE/RL.

"They have no rights in this country and the president -- who should be the guarantor of their rights -- is doing nothing for them."

Tojiboy Ogli, 61, was arrested as he spoke on April 4 and charged by Tashkent's Khamza district court under Article 201 of the Administrative Code with organizing an unsanctioned demonstration.

He told RFE/RL he had been charged with the same violation three times in the past year and been fined a total of some 15 million soms.

Tojiboy Ogli attempted to register as an independent candidate in the 2007 presidential election. He was refused registration by the Central Election Commission, which said it was unable to make contact with or locate him.