Gay Journalist Refused Amnesty
December 22, 2003
By Malcolm Thornberry, 365Gay.com Newscenter, European
Tashkent, Uzbekistan—A gay
journalist imprisoned in Uzbekistan on what international human rights groups
call “trumped up charges” has been declared ineligible for a wide-ranging
amnesty declared by President Islam Karimov this month.
Ruslan Sharipov, a harsh critic of the Uzbek regime, was
sentenced in September to four years in prison on charges of having homosexual
sex—illegal in Uzbekistan under laws dating back to Soviet times—and of
having sex with minors.
Mikhail Gurevich, the head of the Uzbek prison system
said Sharipov could not be pardoned because his crime was “grave.”
Since his imprisonment Sharipov has claimed to have been
tortured into making a false confession.
Human rights activist Surat Ikramov said the decision not
to grant Sharipov a pardon was “unacceptable” and that the amnesty should
apply because an appeals court had cleared Sharipov of the most serious of the
three charges on which he was convicted.
The US had also pushed for Sharipov to be pardoned. The
Bush administration has dramatically increased its involvement with Uzbekistan
after deploying troops in Uzbekistan to back up military operations in
The former Soviet republic has long been criticized by
human rights organizations for its poor human rights record, including putting
more than 6,000 political prisoners in jails where dozens of people have
reportedly died of torture over the past half-decade.
[Home] [World] [Uzbekistan]