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An Appeal to President Karimov from Ruslan Sharipov

Dear Mr. Jonathan Fanton,

The hearing of my appeal of has been put off until September 23, 2003, in order to sow doubt among the international and local observers who have taken my side after my “entreaty” of September 16, 2003.

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… The pressure against me continues. I earnestly ask you to appeal to the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and relay to him on my behalf the following requests as the Uzbek leader is ignoring all my direct appeals to him.

  1. I ask you on September 23 NOT TO SUMMON me from Tashkent prison to the hearing of my appeal and not to summon me from prison at all, so that one concrete body remains responsible for my personal security. I think that my appearance in the appeal procedure is useless, because, being in detention under pressure of the Mirzo-Ulugbek ROVD, GUVD and other bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, I can’t tell the truth in court, and now I fear that I myself, my family and lawyers will be dealt with physically. I ask you to monitor my appeal in my absence, especially considering that the city court already has my forced statements and guilty plea.

  2. Thus, I request Karimov I.A. to assist so that I am not sent out of the territory of the Tashkent prison, and in the case that the verdict against me is not changed on appeal, and my punishment is implemented, I ASK to serve my sentence in the Tashkent prison and not to be sentto a prison colony, where my safety will be in danger, because officials of the Mirzo-Ulugbek ROVD and GUVD, who are already making various provocations, promised me that they can get rid of me using the hands of the other prisoners. As a result, the Tashkent Prison is the only body that can be responsible for my safety. …

  3. On September 16, 2003 I was compelled to state in court that 29 appeals I had sent from the Tashkent prison—12 to the court of justice, 11 to the Prosecutor’s Office, 4 to the President of Uzbekistan, and also … many others sent to various offices—were to be considered void. I repeat. This action was against my well and will allow the authorities to ignore my official appeals from the Tashkent prison and not to follow up on them. So, I ASK to consider my denial of the 29 appeals from the Tashkent prison sent by official mail coerced and, thus, review all the 29 appeals. Up till now, for more than three and one half months, I have received no reply to any of my appeals sent to the Uzbek authorities.

  4. … I call on the Uzbek leader to facilitate the conditions where [a judge]could issue a just verdict and condemn … as the pressure and torture imposed on me. In case I am released prior to the trial, I can personally take part in the trial and testify about everything without a fear of going back into hands of those people, who put me behind bars.

  5. I ask the Uzbek leader to assist in announcing the legal proceedings open immediately, where local and international community could be convinced of the mass violations of my rights by the Mirzo-Ulugbek district department, Mirzo-Ulugbek disrtict court, GUVD and other departments in including MU Prosecutor’s office.

  6. I ask for an independent examination of all the investigation and trial materials against me, which will immediately reveal the mass violations of my rights and freedoms, as well as uncover how the Mirzo-Ulugbek Investigation department, the Mirzo-Ulugbek district court and MU Persecutor’s office fabricated the accusation against me.

  7. I ask for assistance in having the court call in other witnesses and a forensic medical examination expert. In spite of my demand, earlier the Mirzo-Ulugbek district Court called in only witnesses for the prosecution but not defense or a forensic expert who could prove that there was no evidence of my sexual contact between May 21 and May 23 of 2003 with minors. Results of such examination can prove my innocence.

  8. As earlier, I ASK in the court order to interrogate the authorities of the various structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who put pressure on me, and some --even tortured me. …

  9. The Uzbek leader should see to it that my life in detention is safe, as well as lives of my family members and lawyers. In case there is further pressure or torture placed on me, I will not be able to write any longer from prison and protect my rights.

  10. Please take into consideration my extremely poor health and expedite a just review of this case, fabricated against me.

In hopes that the Uzbek government will release me from detention and allow me to participate in the trial proceedings without pressure, threats and torture, I also express my sincere gratitude to international and local journalists, human rights activists and other organizations that are defending me.

Using this opportunity, I ask Michel Goldman, U.S. Embassy representative in Uzbekistan to visit me in the Tashkent prison UIa 64/Si 1, since on September 16, 2003 I couldn’t talk to him openly in presence of the 7seven guards of the City court and couldn’t tell him everything I wanted. …

Until the Uzbek government takes measures to defend freedom of expression and human rights, journalists and rights activists, local and official mass media will carry on with self-censorship and praising the so-called achievements of independent Uzbekistan. This (i.e. the absence of criticism) constitutes a big obstacle and makes democratizating Uzbek society essentially impossible.

Up till now, the front pages of the Uzbek newspapers are filled with agricultural achievements, cultural news, greetings to the President, his travels around the country and beyond, information on holidays and various celebrations. …

Meanwhile, I and my colleague journalists, human rights defenders and opposition activists, who serve their sentences in Uzbek colonies and those few critical voices on freedom, hope that the situation will after all changed for better thanks to the strong position of the international community in respect to the relatively repressive politics of the Uzbek government.

September 17, 2003
Ruslan Sharipov
UIa 64/Si 1
Tashkent prison