International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of independent journalist and human-rights defender Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, who was arrested by the police in early June 2008. He remains in police custody for possessing illegal drugs, charges widely considered to have been fabricated in retaliation for his human-rights reporting. PEN considers his detention to be a breach of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Background Information

Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, 58, is a journalist working for the independent German-based Uzbek agency and the chairperson of the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Individual. He was arrested on June 7, 2008, in Nukus, on the Turkmen border, by traffic police who stopped and searched his car and then claimed to have found illegal drugs. On the same day, police searched his home and his workplace and confiscated a laptop, books, and notes. Abdurakhmanov was questioned about a biography of the exiled leader of the banned opposition party Erk, found by police among his belongings.

It has been reported that Abdurakhmanov has denied the use and possession of drugs or illegal substances, and medical test results reportedly confirmed that he is not a drug user. The information found in his belongings has shown no evidence of any illegal activity. Despite the lack of evidence, Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov remains in custody. Abdurakhmanov’s defense alleged that the charges against him were prefabricated and are a punishment for his journalistic and human-rights work. They believe that the illegal substances were placed in Abdurakhmanov’s car either by the police or by a third party.

Abdurakhmanov is well known for his reporting and monitoring of human rights, economic, and social issues in the region. Prior to his arrest, he had expressed concerns that he may suffer reprisals for his writings. Amnesty International is among those who believe that the charges are questionable and considers Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov to be a prisoner of conscience.

Write A Letter

  • calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, who is held in violation of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory;
  • calling for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of journalists in Uzbekistan who are practicing their right to freedom of expression in accordance with international standards.

Send Your Letter To

Minister of Internal Affairs
Bahodir Matliubov
Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del RU
ul. Junus Rajabiy 1
Tashkent 700029
Fax: + 998 71 233 89 34
Salutation: Dear Minister Matliubov

Deputy Prosecutor General
Alisher Sharafutdinov
Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan
ul. Gulyamova 66
Tashkent 700047
Fax: + 998 71 233 39 17/ 133 73 68
Salutation: Dear Mr. Sharafutdinov

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Vladimir Norov
Ministerstvo inostrannykh del RU
pl. Mustakillik, 5
Tashkent 700029
Fax: + 998 71 139 15 17

Head of the Nukus City Department of Internal Affairs
Glave GOVD, Gorodskoi Otdel Vnutrennikh Del
ul. Biruni, g. Nukus
AR Karakalpakstan

Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after September 14, 2008: ftw [at]