(Bishkek) – One of the world’s longest imprisoned peaceful political activists, Murod Juraev, was finally released from a jail in Uzbekistan on November 12, 2015, after 21 unjustified years behind bars, nine human rights groups said today. Juraev, a 63-year-old former member of parliament, had been imprisoned since September 18, 1994. His original nine-year sentence was extended by 12 years for alleged violations of prison rules; during this time, he was repeatedly tortured and became seriously ill.
The Uzbek authorities should thoroughly and meaningfully investigate credible allegations that Juraev was tortured; that his sentence was arbitrarily extended, which was approved by judges in hearings that violated fair trial principles; and that he was denied appropriate medical care in prison, the groups said. The government should allow him to resume his peaceful political activism. The Uzbek government should also immediately and unconditionally release the numerous other peaceful activists and human rights defenders who remain in prison following politically motivated, unfair trials.