Мищенко дмитрий юрист санкт петербург
UZBEKISTAN: UMIDA AHMEDOVA IS UNDER PRESSURE
RAISE OUR VOICES!
We are expressing our anger and protest because of prosecution of Umida Ahmedova, a photographer and film-maker from Uzbekistan.
During the last month Uzbek Agency of Media and Information has been investigating Gender Program of Swiss Embassy in Tashkent. Security Service of Uzbekistan has been watchfully checking books and films created under this program together with authors who collaborate with it.
The whole story is an example of obscurantism and step back from democratic standards. It is well-known that Swiss Embassy Program is a set of humanitarian, educational and elucidative projects. Umida Ahmedova is one of the authors who have been collaborating with the Program during several years. Also, she has been a participant of other international projects and programs. We are Umida’s colleagues and we know her not only as a talented artist but as a genuine patriot of her country. Millions of people in the whole world have gotten to know and to love Uzbekistan because of her works.
With what exactly Umida is incriminated by justice? Actually she is blaming by what her country has to be proud of her. Particularly U. Ahmedova is accused because of her book of photographs named «Women and Men: From Dawn to Dusk», which was published in 2007 and because of her documentary films. Many of us have this book. It contains 110 photographs and each one is reflected a life and traditions of people of Uzbekistan.
Umida Ahmedova is charged with slander (law article #139) and insult (law article #140) with possible punishment of correctional work from two to three years or detention up to six months. Her case is opened because of decision of some experts from Tashkent Prosecutor Office. These experts decided that Ahmedova’s book of photographs is «an insult and slander of Uzbek people». At the same time these experts did not explain how a documental photograph could slander somebody. Also it is unknown who authorized Uzbekistan Agency of Media and Information to protect allegedly abused honor of Uzbek people.
It needed to be stressed that Swiss Embassy Program has been conducted within a framework of Uzbekistan state politics for gender equality. The book of photographs, which suddenly became so scandalous, was received positively and treated kindly in the most powerful cabinets. Agency of Media and Information waited two years before discovering slander and defamation in it.
Despite an absurdity of accusations we understand that they could generate a huge pressure on Umida and her family. We, friends and colleagues of Umida, are afraid for her safety.
We, colleagues of Umida Ahmedova from different countries, are initiating a campaign for collection of signatures, which will be sent to appropriate addresses in Uzbekistan.
We are asking everybody who knows Umida or who has had any connection with Gender Program of Swiss Embassy to raise their voices in defense of justice.
We are asking everyone to stand for a woman and an artist – those who are always unprotected before a power.
We are demanding a triumph of law, not a triumph of arbitrariness.