Uzbekistan: Prisoner of conscience freed after being sentenced to community service

A Uzbekistani court’s decision to release journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev is a glimmer of hope for the country’s beleaguered journalists, and must be followed by concrete reforms to respect, protect and promote the right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

Tashkent City Court ordered the release of Bobomurod Abdullayev, who was sentenced to 1,5 years of community service.  His three co-defendants, blogger Khayotkhan Nasreddinov and businessmen Shavkat Olloyorov and Ravshan Salayev, were acquitted, as reported by Uzbekistani human rights defender Sukrat Ikramov.

Bobomurod Abdullayev’s has already paid a terrible price for his independent journalism, spending seven months in Uzbekistan’s most notorious detention centre where he was allegedly tortured to confess to trumped up charges
Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Direcot for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International

“Bobomurod Abdullayev’s has already paid a terrible price for his independent journalism, spending seven months in Uzbekistan’s most notorious detention centre where he was allegedly tortured to confess to trumped up charges. There must now be a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into these allegations, which are alarmingly commonplace in Uzbekistan,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

“While we welcome the release of Bobomurod Abdullayev and his co-defendants, many others continue to languish in Uzbekistan’s prisons on politically motivated charges. The Uzbekistani authorities have recently taken some positive steps to improve the country’s dire human rights situation, but talk of reform is empty without a commitment to address past abuses.”

The Uzbekistani authorities have recently taken some positive steps to improve the country’s dire human rights situation, but talk of reform is empty without a commitment to address past abuses
Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International

Bobomurod Abdullayev, an independent journalist and sports commentator, was detained by State Security Service (SGB) officers in Tashkent on 27 September 2017 for allegedly attempting to overthrow the constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan. SGB officers accused him of writing seditious articles under a pseudonym.

Bobomurod Abdullayev admitted in March 2018 that he had used a pseudonym to publish critical articles, but that he was not the author of materials calling for violence.

Amnesty International, along with other human rights organizations, have issued multiple appeals on his case.