13 december 2017

Central Asia news

Officially: Two separate criminal charges against dissident writer

29.09.2017 14:27 msk

Fergana


Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon
The dissident writer Nurullo Muhammad Raufhon (Nurullo Otakhonov), who returned to Uzbekistan from Turkey on 27 September and whom the authorities detained at the airport accusing him of "Encroachment on the Constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (Article 159 of the Criminal Code) and "Manufacturing or Distribution of Materials that Threaten Public Security and Public Order" (Article 244-1). The Deputy Chief of the Tashkent police informed about it at a briefing on 28 September Doniyor Tashkhodzhaev, "Gazeta.Uz" reports.

"On 11 May, a criminal proceeding initiated against Nurullo Otakhonov under article 159. A number of investigative actions carried out in this criminal proceedings, and he was charged in absentia under Article 159 part 1, Article 244-1 part 3, clause "g", an arrest is a measure of restraint imposed on him, and he was put on the wanted list," Tashkhodzhaev said.

According to him, "at the moment, there is not a single document on his behalf to appeal, say, amnesty, pardon or that he comes to the republic, about changing the measure of restraint. He did not officially address the law enforcement agencies. We have no such information."

"So far, the investigation is underway. We will conduct investigative measures, if necessary, we will appoint an additional examination. If his fault is not confirmed or if his actions are subject to the amnesty act, we will naturally decide in accordance with the law," said the deputy head of the Tashkent city police.

Raufhon flew from Istanbul to Tashkent. The writer 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 this presidential statement.

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.

Raufhon is an author of "Bu Kunlar" ("These Days") book criticising 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.

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 and is celebrated author. 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.

Fergana News Agency