Opposition leader's father fined $11,000

Hasan Choriyev
Kashkadarya Region's Yakkabag District criminal court imposed a fine of 29 million sums ($11,000) on Hasan Choriyev, 70, after finding him guilty of slander on 5 November.

"I was lucky as the prosecutor requested a three-year prison term for me," Choriyev said.

He was found guilty despite producing a video confirming that information in his complaints was not slander but the truth.

But the judge decided that Choriyev had still slandered local authorities by claiming they misappropriated several heads of his livestock.

Human rights activists believe the trial was politically motivated and its outcome had been decided in advance.

"You can see this by the fact that when human rights activists came from Tashkent it was postponed twice because the plaintiff - the head of Kamashi District - did not show up," activist of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan Shuhrat Rustamov said.

The activist believes the head of district did not show up for the hearings on purpose because he waited until the moment when activists could not be able to reach Yakkabag from Tashkent which is 500 km away.

On 5 November, activists indeed were not able to go to Yakkabag and the trial took place the same day, only three hours late.

A fine worth 400 minimum monthly wages, or 29 million sums ($11,000), is absolutely unaffordable for Choriyev.

He said his livestock, money, land and house had been seized and he was now being forced to pay a huge sum he did not have.

Choriyev suggested he was being punished for his son Bahodyr Choriyev who now lives in the USA and heads the opposition Birdamlik movement.

Moreover, Choriyev senior himself is disliked by local authorities for publicising violations of law taking place in his region.

"I will not give up and will defend my rights to the end," Choriyev said.