Mamadali Makhmudov

Mamadali MakhmudovProfession: writer and opposition activist

Date of arrest: 19 February 1999

Sentence: 14 years

Expires: 3 August 2013

Details of arrest: Arrested 19 February 1999 after a series of explosions in Tashkent. Several others arrested in connection with these events.

Trial details: Held in incommunicado detention from February to May 1999. Subsequently charged 1) Article 158 Uzbek Criminal Code – Threatening the president and 2) Article 159.3 UCC – Threatening the constitutional order. It is thought that his arrest is linked to his association with the exiled opposition leader Muhammed Salih. However access to key documents has been denied. Appears that some of the charges against the defendants are linked to their writings in and distribution of Erk the newspaper of the opposition Erk party, banned in 1994. At the trial, Makhmudov testified to having been tortured under interrogation including beatings, electric shock and threat of rape of female family members. On 3 August 1999, sentenced to 14 years.


Professional details: Well-known writer. Member of the Uzbek Writers Union and Uzbek Cultural Foundation.


Previous political imprisonment: imprisoned between 1994 and 1996 for alleged embezzlement and abuse of office, charges which at the time were considered by PEN and Amnesty International to have been fabricated and that his arrest was because of his association with Salih. This view supported by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary detentions.

Place of detention: Transferred from Navoi prison to the medical centre at Tashkent prison around March 2001. Subsequently moved on to Chirchik prison where the conditions are said to be less harsh than at Navoi. Reportedly transferred to a hospital wing on 3 July 2002.

Health concerns: reports of torture lead to concern for well being. Hospitalised July 2000 presumably for facial and throat surgery. Thought to have resulted from extreme ill-treatment and neglect in Jaslyk camp where previously held.

Writings: In the early 1980s Mamadali Makhmudov published a novel The Eternal Mountains, which is a historical fiction of the events that happened during the Russian occupation of central Asia in the late 1800s. It was met with acclaim in Uzbekistan, winning the prestigious Cholpan award in 1992. In 2008 the publishing house L’AUBRE, published Makhmudov’s book in French, translated by Philipe Frison, under the title La Montagne eternelle.

Honorary Member: English, American, Canadian, Netherlands and USA

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/uzbekistan/mamadalimakhmudov/

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