Makset Kosbergenov, an outstanding anti-poacher who faced false accusations, was discharged by the court
April 20th was the last court hearing in of the case of Makset Kosbergenov.
The head of Amu Daria Special Inspection of State department for control of use of biological resources and his ranger Aytmurat Halmuratov were discharged by the verdict of the court.
Maxet Kosbergenov is well-known in Uzbekistan as a highly principled protector of wildlife of the Aral Region and Ustyurt plateau. On December 11, 2009 he was arrested on charges of bribery. Why?
In November, 2008, an anti-poaching operation was carried out in the Amu Daria delta, on Lake Sudochie: more than 20 illegal fishermen were arrested. As it was ascertained, they were very dangerous: at least 2 one of them were on the police's wanted list for many years!
Unfortunately, very often in former USSR countries, such criminal groups have patrons in
state organizations. Uzbekistan is not an exception: this group has a patron in the Prosecutor’s Office of Karakalpakstan... Arrest of Maxet Kosbergenov was a revenge for the operation on Lake Sudochie.
The real reason for the arrest and prosecution of Maxet Kosbergenov was his professional activity, believes WWF. For many years, this inspector has been a “curse” for poachers, because he arrested and brought to trial hundreds of them.
Over several months, various environmental organizations, including WWF, well-informed about Kosbergenov’s environmental activities, made requests to the President of Uzbekistan and to the highest law enforcement authorities of the State to prevent injustice and ask them to objectively examine the case. As a result, the most serious charges were recalled.
Makset Kosbergenov faced 10 to 15 years imprisonment - now he is discharged (although after several month in imprisonment before trial).
According to verdict, Maxet can even keep his position and continue his anti-poaching activities - there is no decision that limits his work as the head of the Inspection – and that is really great! Without Maxet Kosbergenov's group, rare species populations of Karakalpukstan would be declining much more rapidly. Work of M. Kosbergenov and his rangers is especially important for conservation of such species and subspecies as paddlefish and sturgeons (including Pseudoscaphirynchus kaufmanni and Pseudoscaphirynchus hermanni), Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), Bactrian deer (Cervus elaphus bactrianus), Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), Goitered Gazella (Gazelle subgutturosa) and Afghanistan Red Sheep (Ovis ammon cycloceros).
Nevertheless, the prosecutor did enough for the environmental activist to be penalized.
Makset Kosbergenov must pay an administrative penalty in the sum 240 thousand Uzbekistani soms (official exchange rate – $11.683) for “exceeding his jurisdiction.” The prosecutor also focused on other accusations such as bribery, for which the Nukus ecologist must pay back the government at least 300 thousand Uzbekistani soms. Makset Kosbergenov and his lawyer completely disagree with the sentence and intend appeal for complete justification.