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Uzbekistan: Political Prisoners

Volume 490: debated on Friday 27 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the number of political prisoners in Uzbekistan. (265371)

We continue to be concerned by the detention of political prisoners in Uzbekistan. The recent releases from jail of prominent human rights activists Saidjahon Zainabitdinov (February 2008), Mutabar Tojibayeva (June 2008) and Dilmurod Mukhitdinov (October 2008) constitute positive steps by the Uzbek side in response to international concerns. Set against this, however, is the ongoing lack of progress in resolving other prominent cases of persons imprisoned on political grounds—most notably the dissident poet Yusuf Juma and opposition politician Sanjar Umarov, as well as two individuals jailed more recently on politically-motivated grounds: Akzam Turgunov (human rights defender sentenced to ten years imprisonment in October 2008 for “extortion”) and Salijon Abdurahmanov (human rights defender also sentenced to ten years for alleged drugs-related offences).

Our embassy in Tashkent is following these cases closely. We have raised our concerns with the Uzbek Government and maintain a regular dialogue on these issues with human rights activists and non-governmental organisations. EU Heads of Mission in Tashkent maintain a list of individual cases of particular concern. These cases are among the issues covered which in the annual EU-Uzbekistan human rights dialogue.

In December 2008 Human Rights Watch issued a non-exhaustive “List of Imprisoned Uzbek Defenders and Activists”, whose cases they follow closely. This report is available for viewing online at: