Central Asian activists in Istanbul believe it is a kidnapping.
As it became known last night, blogger and civil activist Jumasapar Dadebaev, who lived in Istanbul, was forcibly deported to Uzbekistan last week. This was reported to the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights by the lawyer Abdulhalim Yilmaz.
Dadebaev, an ethnic Turkmen from Karakalpakstan, has been actively involved in the Turkmen and Karakalpak democratic movements over the past two years. A couple of years ago, Uzbekistan announced his wanted list through Interpol, accusing him of "terrorism". In October 2020, the police detained Dadebaev in Istanbul during preventive measures to prevent a rally of Turkmen activists. Six months later, he was released from the deportation center by court order.
On December 17, when the activist left the office of the «Oghuz Culture, Cooperation and Education» organization in Kadikoy district of Istanbul, he noticed surveillance by unknown persons, whom he later called “agents of the Uzbek special services” in a conversation with acquaintances. The police arrived at his call, a statement about the incident on December 20 was registered by the prosecutor's office. On the same day, Turkish authorities accepted his asylum application, which has not yet been processed. Yesterday «Memorial» began publishing Dadebaev's memoirs about the events of 2016, connected with an attempt to recruit him by the special services of Uzbekistan to work abroad.
Dadebaev's acquaintances in Istanbul reported that he stopped communicating on January 11. His phone has been switched off since then, and his personal pages on social networks have not been updated.
The activist last contacted «Memorial» on the morning of January 10, sending small clarifications to the draft text about his story. That same afternoon, he tried to contact his lawyer. Dadebayev's acquaintances in Turkey, who have been trying all these days to find him in Istanbul, expressed fear that he could be forcibly taken to Uzbekistan. Yesterday these fears were confirmed. Lawyer Abdulhalim Yilmaz said that according to the information he received, on January 12, the disappeared activist was deported from Turkey to Uzbekistan. Details are being specified. Abdulhalim Yilmaz noted that earlier a Turkish court had banned the deportation of Dadebayev to Uzbekistan and this decision is still in effect.
Everyone who knew Jumasapar is convinced that there can be no question of a voluntary return. Most likely, we are talking about an illegal operation with the participation of the Uzbek special services, which have become noticeably more active after the recent events in Kazakhstan. Representatives of the Karakalpak opposition reported that their supporters in Uzbekistan would try to clarify information about the fate of the illegally deported activist.
Annadurdy Khajiev, Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Vitaliy Ponomaryov, Human Rights Center «Memorial»