Latest Amnesty Excludes Imprisoned Writers
PEN International is disappointed that a recent amnesty has not included five writers and journalists, all serving long prison sentences. The amnesty, which marked the 19th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s constitution on December 7, 2011, led to the release of prisoners in stages up until early March. PEN continues to call for the release of all writers and journalists detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression.
In 2009, PEN issued an alert on journalist Dilmurod Saidov following the tragic death of his wife and small daughter in a car accident on their way to visit him in prison. He was sentenced on July 30, 2009, to 12 years in prison on charges of extortion and bribery that international human rights observers regard as fabricated and politically motivated. PEN and other human rights observers believe that Saidov is being punished for reporting on corruption in Samarkand. Saidov is also suffering from tuberculosis and has been denied adequate medical treatment since his imprisonment.
Saidov, in his early 50s, had been under pressure from government officials since 2005, when he criticized human rights violations in Uzbekistan in an article in the newspaper Advokat-Press. Saidov’s articles have been published in local newspapers and also through Internet-based news agencies reporting on Uzbekistan. He was also particularly active in defending the rights of farmers in the Samarkand region, who since August 2008 have become the victims of large-scale land grabs.
The other writers who will remain in prison are:
Mamadali Mahmudov: writer and opposition activist. In prison since February 19, 1999. His sentence of 14 years expires on August 3, 2013.
Muhammad Bekjanov: former journalist. In prison since March 1999. His sentence expires in January 2017.
Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov: journalist for the independent German-based Uzbek agency Uznews.net. In prison since June 7, 2008. His sentence of 10 years expires on June 6, 2018.
Khayrullo Kamidov: Football commentator and radio-host, poet and deputy editor of the newspaper Chempion (Champion). In prison since January 21, 2010. His sentence of six years in prison expires on January 20, 2016.
For more details on these cases, please see PEN’s complete caselist.
Several thousand prisoners are released each year under amnesties, usually those who are convicted of less serious offenses, teenagers, women, and prisoners aged over 60. This would have meant an early release for Mamadali Mahmudov (62) and Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov (61). However, they still remain prison.
Read a detailed summary by Human Rights Watch of the flaws in Saidov’s trial.
Write A Letter
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dilmurod Saidov, Mamadali Makhmunov, Muhammed Bekjanov, Salidzhon Abrurakhanov, and Khayrullo Khamidov in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory.
Send Your Letter To
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Islam A. Karimov
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaya 43
Fax: +998 71 139 5325
Email: [email protected]
Minister of Justice
Nigmatilla Tulqinovich Yuldoshev
5, Saylgokh Str.
Fax: +998 71 2335176
Email: [email protected]
Head of the National Centre for Human Rights
Natsionalnyi tsentr po pravam cheloveka
5/3 Mustakillik Maidoni
Fax: +998 71 139 13 56
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Uzbekistan in your country if possible.
Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after April 10, 2012: ftw [at] pen.org