good news on release of Uzbekistan Longest Imprisoned Journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64

Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64

Amazing Moment’: Uzbekistan Frees World’s Longest Imprisoned Journalist  Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64

 Association of North American ( Canada and USA )  Ethnic Journalists and writers welcome release of Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64 after serving 19 years in Uzbekistan prison for journalism . 
 
Published 5 March 2018
Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64, remained in the prison for 19 years for working at an independent newspaper, Erk, or Freedom.

The Uzbekistan government has freed one of the world’s longest imprisoned journalists, after 19 years.

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Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64, was in prison for working at an independent newspaper, Erk, or Freedom. The Eurasia division of the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, tweeted, “Glad to hear that #journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov was released from #Uzbekistan prison.” The group also added that he had been held “longer than anybody else in the world — after being convicted on politicized charges in a quick sham trial.”

Considered as a threat for his critical stance on the government, Ruzimuradov was convicted with his editor, Muhammad Bekjanov, on charges of publishing and distributing a banned newspaper, which was perceived to have played a role in overthrowing the government.

The two were sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1999 – and both had their sentences arbitrarily extended for allegedly violating prison rules. Both of the media people were in exile before being abducted in 1999 in Ukraine and smuggled to Uzbekistan while being tortured repeatedly as they were brought back to the Central Asian country.

Ruzimuradov’s daughter, Aygul Bekjan, who lives in the United States, wrote on her Facebook page, “I’m so happy to tell everyone that my father is out of prison, but at the same time I’m so mad for the fact that he lost 18 years of his life for nothing!”

Steve Swerdlow, the Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, “Today, I got a Skype message I will treasure: the government of Uzbekistan has finally released journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov after 19 long years in jail.”

“So today for his family, for him and for us it’s an amazing moment,” Swerdlow added. “There’s no doubt that on political prisoners, these steps were inconceivable when the former president Karimov was alive.”

In February, nearly 12 human rights groups called on Uzbeki authorities to release media people, especially, Bobomurod Abdullaev who was detained in September for merely exercising his right to freedom of expression.

“At a time when the Uzbek government appears to be taking steps to reform the country’s feared security services, reports of a journalist’s torture in their custody should prompt an immediate investigation and decisive, public condemnation,” Swerdlow said.

Several groups petitioned for the release of the media workers prisoners including Amnesty International, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Civil Rights Defenders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom Now, ARTICLE 19, and the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights.

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