2007: Usbekistan: Dzhamshid Karimov

Fax: + 998 71 139 53 25;
email: presidents_office@press-service.uz

President Islam KARIMOV
Rezidentsia prezidenta
ul. Uzbekistanskaia 43
700163 Tashkent
UZBEKISTAN                                                                            15 November 2007

Your Excellency,

Norwegian PEN is deeply concerned that psychiatric detention is being used to punish the independent journalist Dzhamshid Karimov for daring to criticise the government and reporting on human rights abuses. Karimov is known for his critical journalism and was among those who reported on the May 2005 incident in which troops killed antigovernment protesters in the northeastern city of Andijan.

After the killings in Andijan, local authorities began monitoring Karimov’s activities.  In early August 2006 law enforcement agents set up more surveillance equipment in his house and in a neighboring building. The family’s long-distance telephone connections were cut, and in August, Karimov’s passport was seized by the authorities in Jizzakh.

Noregian PEN find it most strange that on August 31, the head of the regional administration, Ubaidulla Yamankulov, visited the family home and offered Karimov positions at the state newspapers Mulkdor and Tasvir. Karimov refused the offer, according to the reports. After that Karimov went missing for two weeks in mid September 2006. He was eventually found in a psychiatric hospital in the capital Samarkand, where he remains under successive psychiatric detention orders. The Uzbek authorities have apparently refused to give the reasons for holding him, calling it a “private matter”.

Norwegian PEN remains deeply concerned for Karimov, and we ask you, Your Excellency, to see to that he is released from psychiatric detention without further delay.

Yours sincerely

Elisabet W. Middelthon, Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir NOROV
Ministerstvo inostrannikh del RU, Mustakillik pl. 5, 700029 Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
Fax: +998 71 139 15 17, e-mail: rnews@mfa.uz

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Norwegian Embassies in Moscow, Kiev and Baku
Ambassador of Central Asia in Norway