Last edited: November 02, 2003

Journalist Says Confession Made After Being Tortured

Radio Free Europe, November 2, 2003

Tashkent (RFE/RL)—A jailed Uzbek opposition journalist said today he had been tortured into confessing to charges of sodomy and called the case against him a crude fabrication designed to silence him and serve as a warning to other independent journalists.

In his first media interview since he was arrested last May, Ruslan Sharipov said that Uzbek authorities used him in an effort to teach others a lesson.

Sharipov, who is openly gay, was found guilty of having homosexual sex—illegal in Uzbekistan under laws dating back to Soviet times—and also of having sex with minors.

The independent journalist and human rights activist was sentenced in August at a closed trial after he suddenly dismissed his lawyer and changed his plea to guilty.

Journalists were allowed to visit Sharipov at the Tavaksay prison, 70 kilometers northeast of Tashkent.

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