Uzbekistan Delays Gay Prisoner’s Release
June 12, 2004
By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Tashkent—Civil rights protestors,
demonstrating against a delay in releasing a gay journalist held since last
year in a Uzbekistan jail, were beaten by a security officer Saturday.
Ruslan Sharipov a gay journalist and human rights
advocate was arrested after doing a series of articles on human rights abuses
in the former soviet republic. He was charged with sodomy and having sex with
minors in what international human rights groups have labeled politically
Last year Sharipov pleaded guilty and later told foreign
journalists he had been tortured into making a false confession.
He was sentenced to 5 1/2 years but an appeals court
reduced the jail term to four years.
Officials allowed Sharipov last year to speak with
foreign journalists and told them he had been tortured and was being kept in a
This spring the government said that Sharipov could be
freed this weekend, under a presidential amnesty.
Human rights advocates and supporters gathered outside
the prison to wait for him. Instead of setting Sharipov free, a prison
spokesperson said that his release had been delayed.
Col. Ludmila Nam that authorities had up to a month to
assemble a commission to review Sharipov’s case. They will refer their
findings to a court for a decision, but he said no date had been set for that
The group of supporters was then dispersed by a
plainclothes security officer, who pulled banners from their hands and broke
them over his knee, shouting gay epithets as other police looked on.
Sharipov’s case has attracted widespread international
criticism, and last month he was awarded the 2004 Golden Pen of Freedom Award
from the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers.
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