Uzbekistan: Poet Yusuf Juma detained

English PEN is concerned by reports that the Uzbek poet, Yusuf Juma, who was arrested in December 2007, is suffering ill treatment in prison.

In early December 2007, Yusuf Juma (also known as Yusuf Dzhumaev/Jumaev), held a series of demonstrations in the south western city of Bukhara with other members of his family, during which they displayed posters calling for the resignation of Uzbek President Karimov who was standing for re-election in Presidential elections. The posters were also posted on the Jumas’ car as it drove around the city.

On 10 December, Yusuf Juma and his family were staging a demonstration at a bus stop when they were ordered to disperse by police. According to reports, Juma and others got into their car and drove off, injuring two policemen as they attempted to stop the vehicle. That evening the Juma home was said to have been raided by police who shot into the house at random. Juma and his family went into hiding; some family members are now reported to be in exile.

Yusuf Juma was arrested around 22 December along with his son, Bobur Juma. He was subsequently sentenced on 15 April 2008 to five years in prison under Uzbek Criminal Codes Article 104 (Intentional Infliction of Serious Bodily Injury) and Article 219 (Resistance to Authority or Person Fulfilling Civil Duty). His son was given a suspended sentence and freed. According to reports, Juma does not deny that the two police could have been injured as he drove away. However early police statements, claiming that the injuries had been minor, were later changed to include more serious injuries, leading to questions about whether more has been made of the incident so as to be sure that the dissident poet would be convicted and imprisoned.

Since February 2008, there have been reports that Yusuf Juma has suffered ill-treatment in detention. Most recently, in mid-May, his family have stated that he remains in a critical condition and is being denied necessary medical attention.


Yusuf Juma had earlier come to the attention of PEN when, in October 2000, he was arrested on criminal charges that Uzbek human rights groups considered to have been trumped up as a means of penalising him for his outspoken criticism, some of which was carried on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The trial ended in September 2001 – its outcome unclear. He was again arrested in October 2001 and held for two months on charges of “anti constitutional activity”, said to be related to two articles in which he accused Bukhara officials of corruption. In response to appeals from PEN in 2001, the Uzbek National Security Service (NSS) wrote that Juma had been calling for a “holy jihad” and referred to previous charges levied in 1994 and 2000 under which Juma had been accused of physical attacks against his neighbours. Supporters dispute this, claiming that local people had been coerced by police to make false allegations. Until the arrest in December 2007, PEN had not received reports of further attacks against him, although it is apparent that he continued his dissident activities.
Please send appeals:

 – Expressing concern at reports that Yusuf Juma has suffered ill-treatment in prison and is being denied medical attention;

– Referring to further concerns that the evidence against Yusuf Juma may have been manipulated as a means of ensuring his conviction and imprisonment in retaliation for his long standing criticism of the government;

-Urging that should Yusuf Juma be held solely in denial of his rights to freedom of expression and association, as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory, he be freed immediately and unconditionally.

Appeals to:

Islam A. Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Rezidentysia prezidenta
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaia 43
Fax: 998 71 139 5325
Rashidzhon Kodirov
General Prosecutor
Prokuratura Respubliki Uzbekistan
Ul. Gulyamova 66, 700047
Fax: 998 71 133 39 17/133 73 68
Akmal Saidov
Head of the National Centre for Human Rights
Natsionalny tsentr po pravam cheloveka
5/3 Mustakillik Maidoni
Tashkent 700029
Fax: 998 71 139 13 56
Please also send copies to the representative of Uzbekistan in your country:

HE Mr Tukhtapulat Tursunovich Riskiev
41 Holland Park
London W11 3RP
Fax: (020) 7229 7029


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