Yusuf Ruzimuradov, one of the world’s longest imprisoned journalists, was released earlier this year after 19 years in prison in Uzbekistan. He wanted the world to hear this message. English text is below.
“First of all, I want to thank my colleagues, representatives of human rights organizations for providing support while I was imprisoned for 19 years. I want to thank our President, who demonstrated the political will to release the many innocent people, who suffered only because they expressed their views, which were correct views. But I would like the work of human rights organizations to continue, because in Uzbekistan, there are still issues, though fewer, but there are still human rights abuses. There are people who remain behind bars and deserve a second chance. Some are innocent people, and some may even be guilty, but deserve mercy. To this end, I call on all the progressive forces, not only journalists and human rights organizations, but all progressive forces of Uzbekistan and internationally to provide support to our President, to continue with his good, political will to support people, allow freedom of speech, and provide for a healthy political opposition and free media. Thank you for your attention.”