24 february 2020

Central Asia news

Uzbek dissident writer Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon returns to his homeland

27.09.2017 09:18 msk


Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon
The 63-year-old Uzbek writer Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon (Nurullo Otakhanov), who lived in exile, returns to his homeland. Raufhon flies from Istanbul to Tashkent today, 26 September, Ozodlik Radio (the Uzbek service of Radio Liberty) reports.

The writer lived in Turkey for the last two years. He decided to return to Uzbekistan in response to the invitation of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who recently in New York, called on compatriots living abroad to return to their homeland. Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon is the first Uzbek dissident who decided to go back to Uzbekistan after the presidential statement.

According to Raufhon, he came to Turkey two years ago at the invitation of the Istanbul Ferfir publishing house: "This publishing house invited me to Istanbul to participate in the presentation of my book and a meeting with readers. But as the holding of these events was postponed, I had to stay in Turkey for a while. At that time, I published my book called "Bu Kunlar" ("These Days"), which criticises the development of Uzbekistan in the period of independence. After the release of this book, I started having problems. Many of my friends advised me not to return to Uzbekistan temporarily," the writer says.

After the release of "Bu Kunlar" Raufhon appeared on the list of undesirable people in Uzbekistan, and the book itself, according to one of the employees of the Uzbek Agency for Press and Information, was listed as banned literature in Uzbekistan. Last year, the Deputy Imam-Khatib of the Uyghur Mosque in Andijan published an article on the Internet against the book "Bu Kunlar" and accused the writer of treason. "They made me an 'enemy of the people', 'a traitor to the homeland'," Raufhon said earlier.

Writer collects a suitcase on the eve of a flight to Tashkent

In the summer of this year, Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon's family in Tashkent learned that the writer is still in the so-called "blacklist" of wanted by police persons. However, in August of this year, the government of Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced the exclusion of several thousand citizens from the "blacklist" - members of religious extremist movements and dissidents who are in exile. It prompted the writer to decide on returning to his homeland.

Nurullo Otakhanov was born in the village of Oyimcha Kakir in Uzbekistan's Fergana region. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Uzbek Philology of the Tashkent State University. The writer became known to a wide audience after the publication of his books "Yol Boshida" ("At the Beginning of the Road"), "Dunyo Keng" ("The World is Broad") and "Shu Erlik Kishi" ("Local Resident"). His love story "Ok Bino Okshomlari" ("Nights of the White Building") was recognized as "the best story of the year" after publication in the magazine "Star of the East" ("Shark Yulduzi"). Later this story became a base of a feature film.

At the end of 2013, Nurullo Otakhanov was dismissed from the post of the general director of the "Movarounnahr" publishing house and the post of the editor-in-chief of the "Khidoyat" magazine for unnamed reasons and later fell into the "blacklist" of the regime of Islam Karimov.

Fergana News Agency