Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Uzbekistan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||31 July 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Uzbekistan, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbc98c.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Overview: The Government of Uzbekistan ranked counterterrorism among its highest security priorities. Sharing a land border with Afghanistan, the Government of Uzbekistan continued to express concern about a potential "spillover effect of terrorism" especially with the United States scheduled to withdraw troops by the end of 2014.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Law enforcement and judicial bodies used charges of terrorism and alleged ties to extremist organizations not only as grounds to arrest, prosecute, and convict suspected terrorists and extremists, but also to suppress legitimate expression of political or religious beliefs.
For example, in October, local courts reportedly sentenced three men who had been extradited from Kazakhstan in June to between four and 13 years in prison on charges related to organizing illegal religious gatherings or circulating religious materials likely to threaten security and public order. As with many cases like this, it is difficult to determine if the convictions were truly terrorist- or extremist-related, or simply used to jail opponents of the regime.
As part of an end-of-year amnesty of prisoners announced by the Senate in early December, the Government of Uzbekistan included a group of prisoners identified as "individuals who were convicted for the first time of participation in banned organizations and the commission of crimes against peace and security or against public security and who have firmly stood on the path to recovery." However, the decree also declared that prisoners considered to be "dangerous" – a term used in the past for prisoners convicted of violent extremism – who were about to complete their sentence, would be excluded from those being released.
The Government of Uzbekistan began issuing biometric passports in November. According to news reports, all citizens of Uzbekistan are expected to have biometric passports by the end of 2015. By late November only 93 biometric passports had been issued.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Uzbekistan is a member of the Eurasian Group (EAG) on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In December, the Government of Uzbekistan ratified the Agreement of the EAG on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism. The Uzbek government did not report any efforts to seize terrorist assets in 2011. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Uzbekistan is a member of several regional organizations that address terrorism, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Government of Uzbekistan also worked with several multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime on general security issues, including border control. In November, counterterrorism officials attended an OSCE-sponsored seminar on anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing. In December, the Government of Uzbekistan ratified the SCO's Convention Against Terrorism.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Official government media continued to produce documentaries, news articles, and full-length books about the dangers of religious extremism and joining terrorist organizations. Some of these use, as examples, the stories of "reformed extremists." The message is generally targeted to the 15- to 40-year-old male demographic, which the Government of Uzbekistan considered the most susceptible to terrorist recruitment. One full-length movie addressed the radicalization of women. Some non-governmental religious experts suggested that greater freedom to circulate moderate religious materials could prove more effective in countering extremism than the current government-produced material.