Uzbek authorities say jailed gay journalist will not be pardoned
December 29, 2003
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — Uzbek authorities said Monday that a gay journalist jailed in a
case that drew international criticism was ineligible for a
wide-ranging amnesty declared by President Islam Karimov this
The chief of staff of the prisons system, Mikhail Gurevich, said
Ruslan Sharipov could not be pardoned because his crime was grave.
The amnesty covers those convicted of r minor crimes, women
sentenced for the first time and elderly, minor and foreign
Surat Ikramov, a human rights activist and one of Sharipov's
defenders, said the decision was "unacceptable" and that the
amnesty should apply because an appeals court had cleared Sharipov
of the most serious of the three charges on which he was convicted
Sharipov, who is openly gay, was convicted of sodomy, having sex
with minors and involving minors into anti-social behavior and
sentenced to 5 ½ years. An appeals court overturned the last
charge and reduced the jail term to four years.
His case has drawn much attention from international media and
human rights groups who say he was persecuted for his criticism of
In an interview from prison last month Sharipov said had been
forced to confess through torture and threats.
A pardon for Sharipov also has been sought by the United States,
which has dramatically increased its engagement with this former
Soviet republic after deploying troops in Uzbekistan to back up
anti-terror operations in neighboring Afghanistan.
Uzbekistan has long been internationally criticized for its poor
human rights record, including putting more than 6,000 political
prisoners in jails where dozens of people have reportedly died of
torture over the past half-decade. –Sapa-AP
Uzbek journalist convicted on sodomy charges