Gay Journalist Given Asylum in U.S.
October 27, 2004
By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
New York City—Ruslan Sharipov a
gay journalist and human rights advocate who was imprisoned for a year in
Uzbekistan has been granted asylum in the United States.
Sharipov 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 motivated allegations.
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 behind bars in a prison
near Tashkent, the capital, but an appeals court reduced the jail term to four
Officials allowed Sharipov last year to speak with
foreign journalists and told them he had been tortured and was being kept in a
He was released last week after the US government agreed
to take him in. Sharipov arrived here late last week the World Association of
Newspapers announced today.
“We are relieved that Mr. Sharipov is beyond the reach
of the Uzbek authorities, and we hope that he can one day return to a free and
democratic Uzbekistan,” said Kajsa Tornroth, director of press freedom
programs for WAN.
Sharipov’s imprisonment attracted widespread
international criticism. In May he was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom Award
from the Paris-based WAN.
Sharipov told the BBC’s Uzbek Service that he now
plans to write about what he witnessed in prison in Uzbekistan.
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