London, UK, October 5 – Following objections from the tyrannical regimes of Central Asia, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has refused to accept the participation of a high level delegation from Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain at the OSCE meeting in Warsaw [2nd-13th October].
In sending a delegation to the meeting, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain believed that it was vital to update participants on the deteriorating situation in Central Asia, where peaceful political dissent has become a justification for torture, arbitrary detention and even extrajudicial killing. The Hizb ut-Tahrir delegation successfully registered to participate in the conference before objections were raised to the party's participation. The OSCE has failed to disclose any information related to the objections received and has failed to provide any justification for this decision.
Previous OSCE meetings have heard how thousands of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir have been incarcerated in Central Asia for political dissent. Participants at the meetings have described how hundreds of our members have been arrested or sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their religious practices and affiliations. They have described how police beat and torture religious detainees to coerce testimony and how after conviction, prison officials torture religious inmates and compel them daily to renounce their faith and ask the state’s forgiveness. The death of several Hizb ut-Tahrir members in custody in suspicious circumstances has also been widely commented on at OSCE meetings.
Commenting on the OSCE decision, Imran Waheed, a media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "The governments of Central Asia and their allies were concerned that we would throw an embarrassing spotlight on their injustices through our participation at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. In preventing our participation, the OSCE has effectively bowed to pressure from the repressive regimes of Central Asia and has sided with them in silencing political dissent."
In his letter to Ambassador Bertrand de Crombrugghe, the Chairman of the OSCE Permanent Council, Imran Waheed wrote, "We presumed the meeting was to facilitate dialogue on this subject and are surprised that the foremost voice of peaceful opposition to these repressive regimes has been denied a voice at this meeting. Your decision surely raises questions of legitimacy about the whole exercise. It is sad that some prefer censorship and myopia rather than debate and scrutiny but a telling sign, the implications of which will not be lost on observers, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike."