Salijon Abdurakhmanov, an Uzbek journalist who was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2008 on dubious drug charges.
Many governments around the world restrict freedom of speech by intimidating and unjustly imprisoning journalists. This is illustrated by the case of Salijon Abdurakhmanov, an Uzbek journalist who was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2008 on dubious drug charges. Mr. Abdurakhmanov is an outspoken journalist known for his reporting on social and economic justice, human rights, and corruption.
Mr. Abdurakhmanov was recently in the news because prison authorities allegedly hid him from the International Committee of the Red Cross monitors who attempted to visit him. Mr. Abdurakhmanov is being held in prison UYA 64/51 near Karshi city where, according to his relatives, he is in poor health and in need of urgent medical attention.
Mr. Abdurakhmanov has written for UzNews, an independent online news agency, and contributed to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. He also represented the Uzbek Committee to Protect Individual’s Rights in Karakalpakstan. Shortly before his arrest, Mr. Abdurakmanov wrote an article criticizing the police in Karakalpakstan.
The United States has raised this case with the government of Uzbekistan, and called for Salijon Abdurakhmanov’s release.
According to the State Department’s latest human rights report, Uzbek police and security services subjected print and broadcast journalists to arrest, harassment, intimidation, and violence, as well as to bureaucratic restrictions.
People around the world, including those in Uzbekistan, depend on journalists to stay informed and educated. It is incumbent upon all governments to protect and promote freedom of the press. As President Barack Obama recently said, suppressing dissent and stifling free expression “are as intolerable as they are shortsighted. They hold countries back, they create instability, they divide societies, and they set off cycles of retribution.”