Gulnara Karimova’s lawyers file a complaint with the UN

The case of the daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan has been going on for about eight years, and she has been in custody for more than seven years. Gulnara Karimova’s Geneva lawyers believe that she was imprisoned arbitrarily, and intend to achieve recognition of this fact in the UN.

Recall that in 2008, Gulnara Karimova was appointed Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, and lost diplomatic immunity in 2013. Criminal cases were opened against Karimova and several people from her circle on suspicion of money laundering. On March 18, 2020, the Tashkent City Criminal Court found her guilty of “organizing a criminal community, extortion, embezzlement through embezzlement and embezzlement, legalization of proceeds from criminal activity and other crimes”, sentencing her to 13 years and 4 months of imprisonment. freedom.

On June 4, 2021, lawyers for the daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, François Zimerail, Gregoire Mange and Fanny Marghera, appealed to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in order to recognize the illegal nature of Karimova’s detention. According to defenders, her fundamental rights are systematically violated. For example, after her arrest (the lawyers’ communiqué uses the word “abduction) in February 2014, she was forced to wait 18 months before being brought to trial for the first time. Moreover, she spent the first year and a half of imprisonment with her daughter, who at that time was 15 years old and who was also “forced to endure Uzbek injustice,” the lawyers say. Three trials, according to human rights activists, were “simulacra”, as they took place behind closed doors, and Karimova had neither the opportunity to freely communicate with lawyers, nor access to her own case.

Lawyers also emphasize that Uzbekistan is regularly condemned by non-governmental organizations and international institutions for violations of human rights, rights to defense and the use of torture. Lawyers insist that the Uzbek authorities arbitrarily detain Gulnara Karimova, and call for her release “immediately and unconditionally.”

Note that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established in 1991 and is an organ of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. According to the Working Group’s page, its mandate is to investigate cases of arbitrary deprivation of liberty or deprivation of liberty in violation of international norms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or international legal acts recognized by the states concerned. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts appointed on the basis of the principle of balanced geographical representation and meets in Geneva three times a year. The experts consider complaints under the standard procedure and conclude whether the detention is arbitrary. In addition, the Working Group visits countries to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty.

We add that in connection with the proceedings in the Karimova case, more than 800 million francs were blocked in the banks of the Confederation in 2012. About $ 131 million of this blocked amount was finally confiscated in 2019, and the procedure for their return to Uzbekistan is regulated by a special memorandum. According to this agreement, signed in the fall of 2020 by the head of the public international law department of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE / EDA) Corinne Ciseron Buhler and the Deputy Minister of Justice of Uzbekistan Bakhrom Kuchkarov, the restitution of confiscated assets to Uzbekistan should be based on the principles of transparency and accountability, and the funds themselves should be used to improve the living conditions of the Uzbek people, strengthen the rule of law and fight impunity. Moreover, funds should be invested in sustainable development projects in accordance with the UN agenda until 2030 and the development strategy of Uzbekistan. Nakone��, the document states that measures should be taken to ensure that these assets do not benefit those involved in the commission of offenses, and information on restitution, management and use of funds should be public and accessible to the population in Switzerland and Uzbekistan.