On 25 July, the human rights activist Akromhodzha Mukhitdinov was killed in a brutal attack, reportedly by a group of men who beat him and then stabbed him. Mukhitdinov was a human rights activist, a member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU), and a leader of the political opposition movement “Birdamlik.” Right up to his tragic death, Mukhitdinov defended farmers’ rights, and throughout his life, he bravely spoke out against child labor and other human rights violations. A husband, father and community activist, he also actively spoke out on environmental issues and led the call to action to address a cholera outbreak in 2011 in Yangiyol district of Tashkent.
The Cotton Campaign extends condolences to the family of Akromhodzha Mukhitdinov. He will be remembered for his admirable pursuit of social justice.
The horrific murder of Mukhitdinov also demands thorough and transparent investigation by the local authorities. Elena Urlayeva, leader of the HRAU, reported to UZnews that the murder of Mukhitdinov was linked to his human rights activities. Colleagues of Mukhitdinov in the Yangiyul district of Tashkent expressed skepticism that his murder will be adequately investigated.
The Cotton Campaign echoes the call of Uzbek citizens on the Uzbek government to ensure that the rule of law is upheld and justice pursued. Failure to thoroughly and transparently investigate his murder would convey a threat to all human rights defenders in Uzbekistan.