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The US embassy in Uzbekistan is "concerned" Gulnaza Yuldasheva was sent to jail after asking police to investigate claims of official involvement in human trafficking.
Gulnaza Yuldasheva was sentenced to two years in prison on "questionable charges" after she asked the police to investigate "official involvement" in human trafficking, said the US embassy in Uzbekistan
Yuldasheva alleged police and government officials in the city of Chinoz sold people to neighboring countries, according to the Voice of America, an official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government.
Her claims seem to be based on the experiences of her two brothers, who were sent to Kazakhstan believing good jobs awaited them.
But after arriving their passports were confiscated and they were made to work 15-hour days, eating only bread. They returned to Uzbekistan a few months later.
The US embassy sent a statement after the conviction of Ms. Yuldasheva. Part of it read:
The United States expresses its concern today over the case of Gulnaza Yuldasheva in Uzbekistan, after a court in the Tashkent region sentenced her on July 10 to two years in prison on questionable charges. According to reports received by our embassy in Tashkent, Ms. Yuldasheva turned to police to investigate claims of official involvement in trafficking in human beings and subsequently became the target of what appears to be an effort to silence her for her efforts to expose corruption involving public officials.
From accounts received by U.S. officials, the court proceedings were conducted behind closed doors and human rights activists were not allowed into the courtroom to observe or testify on behalf of Ms. Yuldasheva’s behalf. According to her lawyer, the charges were fabricated and unsubstantiated.
The United States calls on the government of Uzbekistan to fully investigate the questionable circumstances surrounding these charges against Gulnaza Yuldasheva, as well as the fairness of the proceedings and conformity to Uzbekistan’s international obligations. The U.S. also calls on the government of Uzbekistan to identify and investigate potential cases of human trafficking as well as the possible involvement of public officials, and bring trafficking offenders to justice.