Amnesty International Canada
Muhammad Bekzhanov is one of the world’s longest-imprisoned journalists. Uzbek authorities seem determined to keep him behind bars and silence his voice. Persecution, harassment and intimidation forced Muhammad Bekzhanov to leave Uzbekistan In 1993 while he was editor-in-chief of Erk (Freedom), the main opposition newspaper.
In 1999, Ukrainian authorities forcibly returned Muhammad Bekzhanov to Uzbekistan. He was detained by security forces and tortured with beatings, suffocation and electric shocks. During his trial, he and his co-defendants described how they were forced to confess to fabricated charges of a bombing. The judge ignored the torture complaints and sentenced him to 15 years based entirely on the confession. Days before Muhammad Bekzhanov was due to be released, his sentence was increased by over four more years for allegedly breaking prison rules. His family are concerned about his declining health. There has been no effective investigation into the allegations of torture. Repeated calls for a fair trial have been ignored.
The international press freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) awarded Muhammad Bekzhanov the International Press Freedom Prize in 2013. The award “salute[s] the exemplary courage of men and women for whom reporting the news is a daily battle.”
Call for the release of Muhammad Bekzhanov.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.