Uzbekistan: Open Letter to President Karimov

Islam Abdigamoevich Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Rezidentsiya prezidenta
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaia 43

Fax: 00 998 71 139 5325

15 December 2006
Your Excellency,
It has come to our attention that the young journalist Djamshid Karimov, your nephew, has been in forced psychiatric care in the Samarkand Special Psychiatric Hospital since September 2006. According

to reports he is due to be held for a further three months, and his health is deteriorating rapidly.
We believe that he has been incarcerated because of his journalistic activities, including his reports on the Andijan massacre of May 2005. English PEN therefore calls for his immediate release. At a minimum, he must be granted access to his family and to independent legal advice.

We do not need to remind you how damaging the Soviet Union’s flagrant abuse of psychiatry was to the international reputation of the Soviet Authorities during the Cold War.
PEN also continues to monitor and defend the rights of other Uzbek authors and journalists, particularly the situation of several Honorary Members of English PEN not released from prison in your recent amnesty: Mamadali Makhmudov, Muhammed Bekjanov, whom we hear is seriously ill, and Yusif Ruzimuradov. All are imprisoned for exercising their right of freedom of expression.

We urge the Uzbek authorities to release Jamshid Karimov and these imprisoned writers, in conformity with Uzbekistan’s constitution and obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Alastair Niven OBE
President, English Centre of International PEN

Harold Pinter CBE
Laureate of Nobel Prize for Literature
Vice-President, English Centre of International PEN

Richard McKane
Member of English PEN Writers in Prison Committee

Moris Farhi MBE
Member of English PEN Writers in Prison Committee

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