The National Security Service of Uzbekistan (SNB) took three people to its detention centre (SIZO) on the case of independent journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev, Ozodlik (Uzbek service of Radio Liberty) reports on 10 October.
Akrom Malikov (left), Shavkatjon Olloyorov, Ravshanbek Salayev. Photo by Ozodlik Radio and Facebook
SNB detained one of them, Akrom Malikov, a 27-year-old employee of the Institute of Manuscripts of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan on 22 July 2016 after articles criticising the current government and signed by Abdulloh Nusrat appeared on the Internet: the investigation believes that this is Malikov's nickname. According to Malikov's relatives, SNB officers did inform them about the reason for the detention but told them not to make a noise promising that they would release him soon.
In late September, SNB officer took Malikov to its detention facility and held a confrontation between him and Bobomurod Abdullayev. "Now [SNB] charged him with grave articles of the Criminal Code, in this case, we can not remain silent," one of his relatives told Ozodlik Radio.
The other two detainees of SNB custody are businessmen Ravshanbek Salayev and Shavkatjon Olloyorov. As Abdullayev, they are natives of the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan, the court's decision, arresting an independent journalist, named both of them. According to the head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan Surat Ikramov, people wearing "black masks" arrested them on 28 September - the day after the disappearance of Bobomurod Abdullayev. According to the court's decision, they were the main suppliers of information for articles, which according to the investigation version, Abdullayev wrote under the pseudonym "Usman Haknazarov."
According to Ozodlik Radio, Salayev and Olloyorov were successful businessmen. The first was engaged in show business and had connections in the country's leadership, the second owns restaurants in the metropolitan region, whose regulars were famous artists and high-ranking officials.
It is also known that Ravshanbek Salayev, being a professional agronomist, for some time was engaged in landscape design in the homes of the eldest daughter of the first president of Uzbekistan, Gulnara Karimova, who is under arrest on charges of fraud and a number of other crimes.
According to relatives of Salayev, the authorities suspect him of committing crimes under Article 162 ("disclosure of state secrets") of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. His relatives say that Salayev was an ordinary businessman and did not have access to state secrets, and fell under arrest because he was a fellow villager of Bobomurod Abdullayev.
Shavkatjon Olloyorov is a graduate of the Turkish lyceum in Khorezm, the owner of well-known restaurants in Tashkent, for example, he owns the Palete Restaurant. As an Uzbek official anonymously told Ozodlik Radio, senior officials of law enforcement agencies of Uzbekistan liked to visit the venues of Olloyorov. They have access to secret data, and if they blabbed in their restaurant conversations, then they are responsible, and not the owner of the restaurant, the source said.
To date, SNB questioned about ten people on the case of Bobomurod Abdullayev. According to the wife of the arrested journalist Katya Balkhibayeva, the SNB investigator lieutenant colonel Nodir Turakulov recommended: "not to communicate with the press." The authorities did not allow the mother of Abdullayev, who came from Khorezm to Tashkent on 6 October, to see her son.
According to human rights activist Surat Ikramov, the relatives of the journalist are not allowed to hire an independent lawyer: "Since the day of Bobomurod Abdullayev's detention, we do not know anything about his condition. Investigators put pressure on relatives, not allowing them to hire an independent lawyer. They already threatened lawyers who agreed to defend Abdullayev to deprive their lawyer's license. Everyone knows that the state counsel will not help Abdullayev. Therefore, we have no information about how the investigation is going on and what is the state of the journalist himself."
Earlier, SNB arrested 44-year-old Bobomurod Abdullayev on 27 September 2017. A secretive trial about his detention in SNB custody carried out on 1 October. Until 10 October, the authorities should bring Abdullayev to trial in the criminal case as an accused or released from custody.