Uzbekistan: opposition journalist released after 19 years in prison

TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbek opposition journalist Yusuf Rozimurodov has been released from prison after spending 19 years behind bars, human rights activist Ismoil Adilov has told RFE/RL.

According to Adilov, Rozimurodov was released on parole from a penal colony in the town of Chirchiq near Tashkent on February 22. Adilov added that Rozimurodov was currently in his home village in the southern Qashqadaryo region, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported.

Rozimurodov, 54, was an active member of opposition Erk (Freedom) party and wrote for the party newspaper.

He was arrested shortly after explosions in Tashkent in February 1999 that officials claimed were an attempt on the life of then-President Islam Karimov.

Rozimurodov was later found guilty of plotting to kill the president, plotting to change the country’s constitutional order, and creating a criminal group. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

His prison term was later prolonged.

Karimov died in 2016. His successor, President Shavkat Mirziyoev, has been releasing some political prisoners.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, on March 2 welcomed the news that journalist Yusuf Rozimurodov has been released.

“I am delighted that Yusuf Rozimurodov has been set free after nearly two decades of imprisonment,” Désir said. “I welcome this as a positive step towards the liberation of all journalists in Uzbekistan. It is my hope that the authorities follow through with the release of those journalists who remain behind bars, including Bobomurod Abdullaev, Gayrat Mikhliboev and Khayotkhan (Khan) Nasreddinov.”

The Representative has repeatedly called on the Uzbek authorities, including during his visit to Tashkent in October 2017, to release Yusuf Rozimurodov and other media professionals who are imprisoned in the country.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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