The award-winning Uzbek writer Mamadali Makhmudov has finally been released after over 14 years in prison, reported PEN International on 23 April 2013.
In the late evening of 19 April 2013, Mamadali Makhmudov walked out of prison and met his five grand-children for the first time. His wife told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that her husband was tired and resting.
Mamadali Makhmudov had been held since February 1999, convicted on charges of involvement in a series of bombings in Tashkent, an apparent assassination attempt against President Karimov. There was little evidence to back this up and human rights groups in Uzbekistan and world wide rose to his defence. When he appeared in court in August 1999, Makhmudov testified about the beatings and threats he suffered in gaol, including electric shock treatment.
PEN International has been campaigning for the 72-year-old writer’s release from the outset, alongside that of other writers and journalists. Today there are at least ten other writers thought to still be detained.
While welcoming Makhumdov’s release, PEN International calls for the release of all those detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression and for an end to the widespread censorship in Uzbekistan.
RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service – 23 April 2013:
Uzbek Writer Freed After 14-Year Custody
Mamadali Mahmudov, a renowned Uzbek writer once seen as a potential rival to the country’s entrenched president, has been released after spending 14 years in penal custody.
Spotlight on the Universal Periodic Review – Uzbekistan
Rapid Action Network – 9 March 2012:
Uzbekistan – Latest Amnesty Excludes Imprisoned Writers