Uzbekistan: late president’s grandson asks for asylum in Britain

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The son of Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the late longtime Uzbek President Islam Karimov, has asked for political asylum in Great Britain, RFE/RL reported.

The BBC’s Uzbek-language service quoted a lawyer for Islam Karimov Jr., who lives in London, as saying on January 30 that his client had applied for asylum at least a month ago.

Karimova, who was once tipped as a potential successor to her father vanished from public life in 2014 amid a corruption scandal and is now in state custody.

Karimov Jr. said in December that he planned to ask for asylum in Britain due to what he called the “terrible” situation his mother is facing.

In late 2016, he accused the Uzbek security services of keeping his mother incommunicado and expressed worries about her health.

Neither Karimova nor her children were present at her father’s funeral in September 2016.

Islam Karimov Jr. has said his sister and mother were prevented from going and that he himself could not risk the trip back home.

The Uzbek Prosecutor-General’s Office said in July that Karimova had been sentenced to five years of “restricted freedom” in 2015 after she and several associates were convicted of crimes including extortion, embezzlement, and tax evasion.

A statement also said that she faced additional charges, including financial misdeeds, forgery, and money laundering, in a continuing investigation.

Karimova, 45, was once a high-profile socialite, fashion designer, pop singer, and ambassador to United Nations agencies in Geneva, has also been tied to ongoing money-laundering investigations in Sweden and Switzerland.

Her father Islam Karimov, a former communist boss, ruled for 27 years at the center of a tight inner circle and ruthlessly applied the country’s security and intelligence forces to keep a tight lid on dissent.

Sergey Kwan

TCA