Nadejda Atayeva: Persecuted by INTERPOL
In March 2000, Nadejda Atayeva, along with her brother and father, were charged with embezzlement by the Uzbek authorities after her father questioned the authority’s claims over their food production. They subsequently fled Uzbekistan, which led to an INTERPOL Red Notice. Nadejda fled to France, where she was granted refugee status.
Based in France, Nadejda is the president of the Association of Human Rights in Central Asia. She and her family were charged with embezzlement and forced to flee the country after her father Alim Atayev disagreed with President Islam Karimov. Close relatives and colleagues of the Atayevs were arrested and tortured into giving evidence against Nadejda, her father Alim, and her brother Kakhramon. Since fleeing the country, Nadejda has been sentenced in absentia to six years in prison.
Uzbekistan has imprisoned thousands of people on politically-motivated charges, many of whom are human rights and civil society activists. Here it was able to use INTERPOL as a part of a long-standing campaign to clamp down on any expression of opposition or dissent.
The INTERPOL Red Notice against Nadejda and her family, first issued in 2000, was not lifted until 2015 on the grounds that their prosecution was politically motivated. Nadjeda was forced to live for over a decade with the knowledge that, even with her refugee status, she was at significant risk of being arrested and returned to a country who had systematically attempted to intimidate and threaten her.
Since the lifting of INTERPOL’s Red Notice, Uzbek investigative authorities have instigated another criminal case against Nadejda and her family, claiming they have ‘newly discovered evidence’, thanks to the testimony of new witnesses. Nadejda is still at risk of being targeted by Uzbekistan and her case is a powerful reminder that INTERPOL must continue to work towards preventing politically-motivated abuses of its criminal justice systems.
Information correct as of May 2018.