Uzbek rights advocates able to meet political prisoner
Activists of the Ezgulik human rights advocacy society visited November 10 Murad Jurayev in prison. Mr Jurayev is a former MP and ex-mayor of a city in Kashkadarya Region (Uzbekistan), who has been imprisoned for over two decades.
According to Ozodlik Radio, RFE/RL’s Uzbek service, Ezgulik addressed exactly a month ago the Main Directorate of Penalty Enforcement under the country’s interior ministry with a request to allow meeting with Mr Jurayev, who is incarcerated in Prison 64/6 in the city of Chirchik in Tashkent Region, and was granted permission.
Vasila Inoyatova and Abdurakhmon Tashanov, representatives of Ezgulik, met with Mr Jurayev. They say the political prisoner’s health is satisfactory in general “provided declining age-related illnesses are not taken into account.” The prison administration has been reportedly treating him better lately.
“Murad Jurayev has said the situation in the prison has improved after Tulkin Tukhtasinov, a former employee of the prison administration, was held accountable for violating the rights of inmates. He was in a good mood during our conversation. The now ‘traditional’ charge of allegedly violating internal rules of the prison has not been pressed against him, which gives hope for his release in near future,” Mr Tashanov told in an interview with Ozodlik. Ezgulik circulated a statement following the meeting with Mr Jurayev, in which the group calls the government to release the political prisoner based on the principles of humanism.
Background: Murad Jurayev was born in Mubarek of Kashkadarya Region in 1952. He is an ethnic Turkmen. He is married with three children. He graduated from the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute. Mr Jurayev was chairman of the executive committee of the Murabek city council in 1989-1992. He was a member of parliament in 1991-1992.
Mr Jurayev was accused of entering “criminal conspiracy” with Muhammad Salih, the leader of the Erk opposition party. According to the Uzbek authorities, Messrs Salih and Jurayev wanted to organise a violent seizure of power.
Mr Jurayev has been imprisoned since 18 Sep 1994, i.e. 21 years. In accordance with the Uzbek legislation, the maximum imprisonment term is 25 years. The Human Rights in Central Asia Association reported earlier that Mr Jurayev’s health is in a critical condition: over the years of imprisonment, he lost his teeth, suffers from incessant headaches and constantly inflamed nasopharynx and he can barely move and talk.
The latest court hearing in Mr Jurayev’s case was held in Almalyk, Tashkent Region on 4 Dec 2012, when he was sentenced to 3 years and 24 days of imprisonment based on Article 221 of the Crime Code of Uzbekistan—Disobedience to lawful demands of a penalty enforcement institution’s administration. The 2012 hearing was the fourth of conviction handed to Mr Jurayev. He is slated for release late December 2015.