December 2, 2011

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Islam A. Karimov
Rezidentsiya Prezidenta
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaia 43

Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Sayora Rashidova
700008 g. Tashkent
pl. Mustqkillik, 2
Oliy Majlis Respubliki Uzbekistan
Fax: +998 71 139 8555

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to welcome the release of journalist and PEN American Center Honorary Member Dzamshid Karimov from detention in a psychiatric facility.

According to our information, on November 6, 2011, journalist Dzamshid Karimov was released after five years’ detention in a psychiatric facility in Samarkand, where he was believed to have been held for his critical reporting. He was seen in his hometown of Jizak during the recent Eid al-Adha celebrations. There are still concerns that Karimov’s health may have deteriorated due to the allegedly forced administration of psychotropic medicines while he was detained.

Dzamshid Karimov, a journalist for the London-based Institute of War and Peace Reporting, first disappeared on September 16, 2006, and was not heard from until two weeks later, when friends discovered that he was being held in a psychiatric hospital. He has been under surveillance since mid-2006, and had his passport seized in August 2006 after he applied for a visa to attend a journalism seminar in Kyrgyzstan. On August 31, 2006, the head of the regional administration visited Karimov and offered him positions on official newspapers, apparently in a bid to stop his independent journalism.

PEN American Center welcomes the release of Dzamshid Karimov, but remains concerned about the reports that his health has suffered as a result of his incarceration. PEN calls upon the authorities to abide by their commitment to protect freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory. We therefore renew our call to release all journalists detained in violation of their right to free expression, and end all harassment against them.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write & International Programs

CC: H.E. Ilhom Nematov
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United States
Embassy of Uzbekistan to the U.S.
1746 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1903
Fax: (202) 293-6804

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