Uzbekistan: Trial of former prosecutor-general starts in Tashkent

TASHKENT (TCA) — Sources close to the Uzbek government have told RFE/RL that a corruption trial has begun in Tashkent against the country’s former prosecutor-general, Rashidjon Qodirov, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported.

The sources told RFE/RL that the trial started on January 7 at Tashkent’s Yunusobod District Court.

An official of the Supreme Court, who declined to be identified, confirmed to RFE/RL that the trial had begun but said the process was being conducted behind closed doors. He did not elaborate.

An official representative of the Prosecutor-General’s Office told RFE/RL that there would be no immediate release of information about the court proceedings.

“The investigation of the case was classified and currently the case is under a court’s control,” the official said. “The court will decide in what way and how the information about the trial will be made public.”

Qodirov was arrested in February 2018 and charged with extortion, bribery, and abuse of office.

His arrest came about three years after he was sacked amid a purge of officials connected to the investigation of Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the late President Islam Karimov.

Karimova was detained in Uzbekistan in 2014. Uzbek authorities said in 2017 that she had been sentenced in 2015 to five years of “restricted freedom” after being convicted of extortion, embezzlement, and tax evasion.

Qodirov, who served as the country’s top law enforcement official for 15 years, was the prosecutor-general in 2014 when Karimova was initially charged.

Uzbekistan became isolated and economically stagnant under Karimov, who tightly ruled the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since Karimov’s death in 2016, his successor Shavkat Mirziyoev has publicly criticized government agencies and has taken steps to sack or remove many officials in power during Karimov’s rule.

At a meeting of ministers in August 2017, President Mirziyoev described officials at the Prosecutor-General’s Office as “the biggest thieves” in Uzbekistan.


Times of Central Asia