|Title:||Muhammad Bekzhanov, Uzbekistan|
Muhammad Bekzhanov, a journalist, the-editor-in-chief of the banned Erk political opposition party newspaper, and a brother of Muhammad Salih, the exiled leader of Erk, was sentenced by Tashkent City Court in August 1999 to 15 years in prison, after a trial which fell far short of international standards.
During his trial in August 1999 Muhammad Bekzhanov issued a statement together with his five co-defendants, alleging that they had been tortured in pre-trial detention in order to force them to confess to fabricated charges and implicate Muhammad Salih, the exiled leader of Erk. He alleged, among other things, that he had been beaten with rubber truncheons and plastic bottles filled with water, suffocated, and given electric shocks. After the accused had given his testimony the trial judge gave the defence just 40 minutes in which to present their case. The trial was then adjourned for six days after which the verdict was announced. The court did not take any of Muhammad Bekzhanov’s allegations of forced confessions into account when reaching its verdict and, on 18 August 1999, sentenced him to 15 years in prison for his alleged participation in the February bombings. Among other things, the court found him guilty of participating in an attempt upon the life of the president, attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, establishing an illegal public association or religious organization, and illegally crossing the border to leave and enter Uzbekistan.
He was due to have been released in February 2012 after nearly 13 years in detention but a court in the town of Kasan, close to the prison colony where he is serving his sentence, sentenced him to another four years and eight months in prison on 24 January 2012 for allegedly violating prison rules. Family members reported that Muhammad Bekzhanov told the court that he had not infringed a single prison rule in 13 years and that he thought it strange that he should start breaking rules just weeks before his release. An appeal court upheld the additional sentence on 15 March 2012. Muhammad Bekzhanov’s family have said that his health has declined sharply in the last couple of years and that he is not receiving necessary medical attention.
POLITICALLY MOTIVATED CRIMINAL CHARGES
COUNTRY: ASIA AND THE PACIFIC/CENTRAL ASIA/UZBEKISTAN
|Agreement Notes:||In Amnesty International... Read more|
|Date Photo or Video Created:||01/10/1998 00:00|
|Size:||2.87 MB; 4764 x 7104 pixels; 403 x 601 mm (print at 300 DPI); 1260 x 1880 mm (screen at 96 DPI);|