This wasn’t the Congress of the opposition Movement Birdamlik of Uzbekistan – they are getting prepared for it still, last Saturday the activists of the Movement wanted to hold their meeting, but it was interrupted.
Activists of the People’s Democratic Movement of Uzbekistan Birdamlik, headed by oppositionist Bokhodir Choriyev from the USA were to have a meeting in Chashmai Nur café in Tashkent from 12:00 to 17:00 hrs on 15 of September 2018.
Only a small number of activists knew about this meeting for the Birdamlik had not make any announcements about the measure to be held and its participants had not told anybody either.
However, the planned meeting became to the knowledge of the law enforcement bodies in Tashkent, who did every effort for the meeting not to happen.
Early in the morning
Birdamlik Movement representative in Uzbekistan Qakhramon Makhmedov, 38, told C-1 that on Saturday, about 07:45 in the morning, the area police officer accompanied by the local community activist knocked at his Tashkent apartment door. They checked Makhmedov, who was born and raised in Qashqadarya region, for the availability of a Tashkent city residence stamp in his passport, which he did not have –the population of the regions of Uzbekistan do not practically have the right to get Tashkent city residency.
In a short while, Makhmedov found himself at the Department of Almazar district Internal Affairs of Tashkent, where he had to spend the whole day until 17:00 hours. According to Qakhramon, about five police officers interrogated him, who were interested to know about his visits to the foreign countries, his association with Birdamlik and its leader Bokhodir Choriyev, who now calls himself Bahodir Khan Turkiston, also his religious commitment: whether he prayed namaz etc.
Finally, according to Makhmedov, officers of DIA of Almazar district advised him to “simply continue living a simple life”, i.e., refuse from oppositional activities and politics, not to poke his nose into government affairs, not to unite with other people into groups, societies or parties.
They switched off the light in Chashmai Nur café, then so-called “sanitary” (cleaning) day was initiated; photo by: C-1
By that time, Birdamlik members gathered at Chashmai Nur café in Tashkent, who were already aware of Makhmedov being detained by police, but, because the activist had already paid the premises rental fee, they hoped that they would be able to sit and discuss the affairs and plans of action.
But suddenly the café staff announced that the café had its electricity supply cut off for failure to pay and then added that they were having a leaning sanitary day.
In the end of the day, the participants of the meeting had to waste their time at the café building. Birdamlik activist, veteran of Uzbekistan opposition Dilorom Iskhaqova commented interruption of the movement’s meeting in the following way:
“For the past two years my country lived with a hope for President Shavkat Mirziyoyev that he would very soon allow opposition within the wording of the Constitution. But that did not work that way. Arrest of Qakhramon Makhmedov and disruption of the meeting – these are primarily a blow against the image of Mirziyoyev.”
Dilorom also added that two more members of the movement were also detained in different regions of the country on the day of the meeting, who therefore could not reach Tashkent.
Birdamlik activists wasted time at the building of the café: photo by: C-1
Another Birdamlik member thinks that it is high time for the President of Uzbekistan to express his opinion in relation of opposition. “Pressure on opposition is especially improper, if we take that this has happened on the very International Day of Democracy – 15 of September,” – he said.