Farkhod Mamaev from the village of Saratepa in the Dustlik district of Jizzakh region claimed that two local police officers from the district police department beat him for refusing to pick cotton.
Farkhod Mamaev is 32 years old and works as a regular employee at a farm in Saratepa village. According to Farkhod Mamaev, this incident took place at Farkhod’s field at around 10 am on October 8, 2016.
As Farkhod says, the local security inspector from the Dustlik district, Abdunabi Shakarboyev, and an unknown police officer came to forcibly mobilize Farkhod for cotton picking. However, after Farkhod refused they threw him to the ground and beat him.
According to Mamaev, he was harvesting lentils at his garden plot. At some point, he noticed that a bus had approached his house and parked next to it. In it were the chief of the village council (the Makhalla leader), Shodier Ankaboev, the security inspector from the police, Abdunabi Shakarboyev, and several other people. One of the police officers tried to force Farkhod Mamaev to go to pick cotton.
However, Mamaev responded to them saying that there were already two people from the same farm who had been sent out to pick cotton. But the police did not pay any attention to him. They twisted Farkhod’s arms and dragged him to the bus.
“They coerced me, twisted my arms, took me to where the bus was parked and rolled me in the dust. I told them to let me walk on my own. I also told them that I would not run away and would walk myself to see the Makhalla leader. Then, another police officer joined us. His name was Abdunabi Shakarboyev. He insulted me by saying bad things about my mother. They held both of my arms and started beating me together. My wife saw all this and was afraid that they may harm me. So she shouted for help”, said Farkhod Mamaev.
According to Farkhad, police officers beat him in the bus in front of the chief of the Saratepa village council, Shodiyor Ankabaev.
“They took me to the bus to see the Makhalla leader. They were slapping me in front of him. ‘Why wouldn’t you pick cotton? You will pick cotton. You can tell who you like about this. Nobody will take your side! There is no such person!’, they told me. They also used insulting words about my mother. I could not stand it. But what can I do?”, said Farkhod.
The chief of the Saratepa village council was indifferent to what happened there. He did not do anything while they were beating Farkhod Mamaev.
“He just turned his back. He was also laughing at me. Then, I asked the Makhalla leader: ‘You are the leader of our village. You are like a father to us. Why would you not tell me that they can abuse me this way? I will pick cotton if needed.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You can record it on your phone. If they insulted you, they will be held responsible’.”
According to Khurshida Mamaeva, Farkhod Mamaev’s wife and mother of his two children, her husband was beaten in front of other people.
“They beat him in the head. I was crying and asking them to stop beating him. I was cursing them too. I was shouting at them. They did not let him walk. They twisted his arms and started dragging him. The children saw all this. They were crying and were obviously shocked”, said Khurshida.
As 27-year-old Khurshida says, police officers stopped beating her husband after she called the police department’s hotline. Ozodlik asked the local security inspector from Dustlik district Abdunabi Shakarboyev to comment on this but he denied the incident took place.
“No, it never happened. That is for sure”, said Abdunabi Shakarboyev.
In a phone call with Ozodlik, the Khokim of the Dustlik district, Abdusattor Bobobekov, promised to investigate reported cases of forced labour that are happening during the cotton harvest.
“Cotton pickers are paid enough. I have to tell you that it is impossible that it could happen this way. Let me check all this.”
October 9, 2016