Uzbekistan: rights activist released after 8 years in prison

TASHKENT (TCA) — Human rights activist Gaybullo Jalilov has been released after serving eight years in prison in Uzbekistan, his relatives told RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service.

Family members said on March 17 that Jalilov, a 51-year-old member of the unregistered Society for Human Rights, was released from prison on March 16 and is currently in his home village in the southern Qashqadaryo region.

Jalilov was arrested in 2009 and later convicted of plotting a terrorist attack on an airport in the city of Qarshi. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Human Rights Watch condemned Jalilov’s conviction, saying it was politically motivated and based on fabricated evidence.

Jalilov’s relatives have said that he was regularly tortured while in prison.

Shavkat Mirziyoev, the longtime prime minister who became president after his autocratic predecessor Islam Karimov died in 2016, has been releasing political prisoners as part of an apparent policy of gradually reducing authoritarian control.

At the 14th meeting of the EU-Uzbekistan Subcommittee on Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights and related issues held in Tashkent last week, the EU side noted that in spite of Uzbekistan’s overall positive trend and further releases of prisoners of concern, persistent problems with freedom of expression, the penitentiary system, women’s rights and vulnerable populations remain, adding that Uzbekistan has made efforts to modernize relevant legislation, for example the reforms of the judiciary and security systems, the anti-corruption law and measures to improve the business climate.

Sergey Kwan

TCA