Uzbek Strip-Search Victim Says Police ‘Ruined My Life’

Uzbek Strip-Search Victim Says Police ‘Ruined My Life’


An Uzbek woman was subjected to a humiliating strip search by the police, an incident that was captured on video and caused public outrage. This article provides a detailed account of the incident, the reactions from both the public and authorities, and the support offered to the victim.

The Strip Search Ordeal

The 35-year-old woman, whose identity remains anonymous, was accused of theft from a bazaar. The video footage, sent to RFE/RL by a police whistle-blower, shows her being berated by off-screen officers and ordered to strip naked.

An off-screen male voice, believed to be that of a police officer, can be heard shouting derogatory and offensive remarks at the woman, demanding her to undress completely. He threatens to make her walk out on the street naked.

Despite repeatedly asserting her innocence, the woman is further humiliated as the voice tells her to “get the f*** out!”

Public Outrage and Swift Response

The incident sparked widespread outrage among the Uzbek public and authorities, leading to immediate action.

Within hours of the video’s publication, Samarkand prosecutors initiated a criminal investigation into the incident and detained two officers involved.

Sanat Umarov, the officer allegedly responsible for ordering the woman to strip, was interrogated by a special team sent by the Samarkand provincial prosecutor’s office. He now faces criminal charges.

Lawmaker Rasul Kusherbaev condemned the police behavior, describing it as “an insult to the entire nation” on his Facebook account.

Support and Assistance Offered

Both the Uzbek public and various organizations showed overwhelming support for the victim.

The head of the State Women’s Committee, Tansila Norboyeva, traveled from the capital, Tashkent, to Kattaqurghon, the district where the incident took place, to offer immediate assistance and support.

The woman’s impoverished house, where she had been living in complete poverty since her husband’s death, was repaired and renovated within days using funds allocated by the local government.

Additionally, a Samarkand-based journalist, Karimberdi Turamurod, launched a Facebook campaign to collect money for the woman. The response was significant, with contributions coming from Uzbeks living abroad in countries such as Russia, Sweden, and Canada.

The collected funds were used to purchase a large wooden door for the woman’s house, as shown in a video posted on Facebook by the journalist.

In addition to the renovations, officials opened a small shop in the village to help the woman start her own business. Private businessmen reportedly donated supplies for the shop.

Uzbeks living abroad even offered to send clothes and school items for the woman’s children, requesting their measurements.

The Victim’s Statement

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, the woman expressed her gratitude for the support she had received but stated her desire to be left alone.

She said, “Far too many people are approaching me…many people are coming to ask if I need help. I am grateful for all the help and consideration I have received, but I don’t want any attention anymore. I don’t want any financial help either.”

Reflecting on the experience, she emphasized that it had left a permanent scar on her heart and claimed that it had ruined her life.

Police Abuse in Uzbekistan

This incident of police mistreatment is not an isolated case in Uzbekistan. The country’s police force has long been criticized for its mistreatment of detainees as well as widespread corruption.

In early 2017, President Shavkat Mirziyoev acknowledged the issue, stating that over 4,500 police officers had been fired the previous year due to reasons including bribery and abuse of authority.

Ulughbek Muhammadiev, the country’s human rights ombudsman, expressed hope that the incident in Kattaqurghon would serve as a catalyst for launching training sessions for law enforcement employees.


The strip-search incident in Uzbekistan has sparked public outrage and led to a swift response from authorities. The victim has received significant support, with her house being repaired and a small shop being opened for her to start her own business. The incident highlights the need for addressing police mistreatment and corruption within the country’s law enforcement agencies.