Uzbek independent journalists ask EU envoy to help free political prisoners

Salijon Abdurahmanov has been in prison since 2008
The Real Union of Journalists of Uzbekistan (RUJU) appeals to EU representative to help free political prisoners in this country.

Ahead of a visit by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton’s first visit to Uzbekistan, the RUJU hereby is making an open appeal to her.

APPEAL

“Dear Ms Ashton,

We, members of the RUJU, Germany-headquartered organisation of journalists, inform you in the run-up to your visit to Uzbekistan on 28 November that over 30 political prisoners remain imprisoned in this country as of today.

All of them, including independent journalists, human rights defenders and other activists of Uzbekistan’s civil society, honestly fulfilled their duty to fight in their own ways against numerous violations of civil rights in this autocratic country.

As a result, all of them were arrested and then were put behind the bars for many years on trumped-up charges.

In the summer of 2008, a well-known human rights activist and an Uznews.net correspondent, Salijon Abdurahmanov, 62, was arrested in the capital of the Uzbek autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan and was accused of storing and distributing drugs in large amounts.

A court sentenced him to 10 years in prison despite the fact that local police did not do anything to prove his guilt and they did not even conceal that the case was fabricated.

He may well have been pardoned because of his age when Uzbekistan has repeatedly announced amnesty and released people who are older than 60. But the Karshi prison authorities imputed violations to him that he had never committed. This prevented him from enjoying the Uzbek government’s “charitable act”.

In addition to Abdurahmanov, there are at least 30 political prisoners in prison camps of Uzbekistan (see below a full list of the Committee for Releasing Political Prisoners of Uzbekistan), among them Dilmurod Saidov and Hayrullo Hamidov, opposition party members Azam Farmonov and Muhamadjon Bekjanov, human rights activists Gaybullo Jalilov and Alisher Karomatov.

Ms Catherine Ashton! We, the journalists of the RUJU, urge you to pay particular attention to all of the political prisoners listed below and bring this issue up during your forthcoming talks with Uzbek authorities and personally with President Islam Karimov.

Sincerely yours,

The Real Union of Journalists of Uzbekistan.

Political prisoners of Uzbekistan:


1. Habibulla Akpulatov, born in 1950, a human rights activist sentenced in November 2005 to six years in prison. In 2010, his prison term was extended by another three years.

2. Isroiljon Holdorov, born in 1951, a human rights activist and an opposition party member jailed for six years in prison under a fabricated case; a Group II disabled and remains in a grave condition in UYa 64/29 in the town of Navoi. His prison term has expired.

3. Azam Farmonov, born in 1978, a human rights activist and an opposition party member. After numerous provocations, he was jailed for nine years under a fabricated case in 2006 and now remains in UYa 64/71 in Jaslyk.

4. Alisher Karomatov, born in 1968, a human rights activist jailed for nine years serving his prison term at UYa 64/49 in the town of Karshi, suffering a severe form of TB.

5. Nasim Isakov, born in 1966, a human rights activist sentenced to eight years in prison by the Jizak town court on 20 December 2005. He is in UYa 64/3 in the village of Tavaksay in Tashkent Region.

6. Abdurasul Hudaynazarov, 1956, jailed for 9.6 years in December 2006. He has been subjected to torture in a prison camp. He attempted to commit a suicide in the summer of 2009;

7. Murod Jurayev, 1952, an opposition party member and a former mayor of the town of Mubarak jailed for 12 years in 1994. In 2006, his term was extended for another three years and two months. In 2010, the term was extended again. At present, he is kept in prison camp UYa 63/48 in the town of Zarafshan;

8. Muhamadjon Bekjanov, 1954, an opposition party member jailed for 12 years in 1999, is suffering a severe form of TB while serving at prison UYa 64/61 in the Kasan town in Kashkadarya Region though his prison term has expired;

9. Mamadali Mahmudov, 1940, a writer and a former chairman of the Fund of Culture.

10. Yusupboy Ruzimurodov, 1958, a journalist and an opposition party member sentenced by a Tashkent Region court on 18 August 1999 to 15 years in prison. Presently, he is kept in custody in prison camp UYa 64/46 in the town of Navoi.

11. Samandar Kukanov, 1945, a former member of parliament, a former director of a petroleum storage depot and an opposition party member jailed for 20 years in 1993. He remains at prison UYa 64/48 in the town of Zarafshan.

12. Entrepreneur and government critic Isak Abduallayev, 1935, jailed for 10 years with trumped-up charges in October 2005.

13. Journalist Gayrat Mihlibayev (UYa 64/48 in Zarafshan).

14. Religious worker Ruhiddin Fahriddinov, jailed for 17 years in September 2006 (UYa 64/01).

15. Religious worker Akram Yuldashev jailed for 17 years in May 1999.

16. Abdulla Madmarov, 1972, jailed on suspicion of being involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir (UYa 64/29 in Navoi).

17. Habibulla Madmarov, 1974, jailed on suspicion of being involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir (UYa 64/51 in Kasan).

18. Abdulahad Madmarov, 1972, jailed on suspicion of being involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir (UYa 64/71 in Jaslyk).

19. Agzam Tursunov, 1952, a human rights activist and opposition member, jailed for 10 years in the autumn of 2008 (UYa 64/49 in Karshi).

20. Jamol Kutliyev, a children’s doctor. Since 1990, he headed the Erk opposition party’s Gijduvan District branch until he was jailed for seven years by the criminal court of Buhara Region in November 2007 (prison camp UYa 64/3 in Tavaksay neighbourhood in Tashkent Region).

21. Hazrat Ahmedov, 1940, a school teacher arrested on 11 November 2005. The Buhara regional criminal court sentenced him to four years in prison in March, 2006 (prison camp UYa 64/3 in Tavaksay neighbourhood in Tashkent Region). In 2010, his prison term was extended.

22. Zafar Rahimov, a car repair expert. A member of Kashkadarya Region branch of the HRSU, arrested in 2007. In October 2007, the Karshi town criminal court sentenced him to six years in prison.

23. Yuldash Rasulev, a car repair expert and an entrepreneur. A member of the Kashkadarya Regional branch of the HRSU sentenced to 10 years in prison.

24.Iournalist Dilmurod Sayid (Saidov), a member of the Ezgulik human rights society , on 30 July2009, the Taylak district court sentenced him to 12.5 years in prison.

25. Ganihon Mamathanov, a court in Fergana Region sentenced him to five years in prison on 25 November 2009.

26. Gaybullo Jalilov, a member of the HRAU from Karshi. A field court sentenced him to nine years in prison on 18 January 2010.

27. Mehriniso Hamdamova, born in 1969, a HRAU member sentenced to serve seven years in a standard regime penal colony on 12 April 2010.

28. Zulhumor Hamdamova, 1960, sentenced to serve 6.5 years in a standard regime penal colony on 12 April 2010.

29. Shahlo Rahmatova, 1965, a HRAU member sentenced to serve 6.5 years in a standard regime penal colony on 12 April 2010.

30. Hayrullo Hamidov, 1975, a journalist, a well-known sports commentator and poet. A court in Tashkent Region’s Yangiyol district on 27 April 2010 sentenced him to six years in prison for “illegal setting up of public associations or religious organisations”.