Dilmurod Saidov is a prominent Uzbek journalist and human rights activist who was wrongly detained in Uzbekistan from 2009 until 2018 on fabricated extortion and forgery charges. Prior to his detention, his articles appeared in many local newspapers and were published by Internet news agencies such as Voice of Freedom and Uznews.net.
Saidov was a member of the human rights organization Ezgulik and has been defending farmer’s rights against government corruption in Samarkand since 2004. As a journalist, Saidov has written many critical articles about the government, accusing authorities of corruption and asserting that their corrupt dealings are impoverishing the region’s farmers.
Saidov was arrested on extortion charges on February 22, 2009, on the basis of a statement made by a head of the Agricultural Equipment and Tractor Park in Samarkand who claimed that Saidov had sought to extort US$15,000 from him. Authorities added a second charge of extortion in March and a charge of forgery in April.
The investigation and trial were plagued with inconsistencies and violations of fair trial standards. Before and during the trial, several witnesses rescinded their testimony against Saidov and reported that they had been pressured to make false allegations against him. Furthermore, court hearings were repeatedly conducted without notice to Saidov’s defense lawyer. Despite these procedural deficiencies, on July 30, 2009, Saidov was convicted and sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison. Saidov’s conviction has been upheld twice on appeal and the Supreme Court has dismissed his request for review.
Saidov suffers from acute tuberculosis and was held in a special facility for tuberculosis inmates, called TB Zone #36. According to his family, During his detention, he was subjected to poor prison conditions and psychotropic drugs. Adding to his hardships are the deaths of his wife and five-year old daughter who were killed in a car accident in 2010. The U.S. State Department as well as many human rights organizations including, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists called for Saidov’s release.
Freedom Now filed a petition in March 2012 on behalf of Saidov with the UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention. The Working Group determined in November 2012 that Saidov’s detention was a violation of international law.
Freedom Now brought international attention to Saidov’s case by publishing an op-ed in Huffington Post and Fergana News, a letter to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, press releases, a report to the UN Committee Against Torture, a report to the UN Human Rights Committee prior to Uzbekistan’s periodic review in 2015 and 2020, a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, and a report to the UN Human Rights Council prior to Uzbekistan’s universal periodic review.
In May 2011, four members of the German Bundestag sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel raising the issue of Saidov and other Uzbek political prisoners. A subsequent letter was sent by 12 U.S. Senators in June 2013.
Saidov was released from prison on February 3, 2018. Freedom Now represented Saidov as his international pro bono legal counsel.
Related News Posts
Uzbekistan: Journalist Dilmurod Saidov Released from PrisonFebruary 5, 2018
Blog Post: A Year of Positive Steps in Uzbekistan, But More Action is RequiredDecember 5, 2017
Blog Post: President Mirziyoyev Must Affirm Commitment to Human Rights at UN General AssemblySeptember 18, 2017
Blog Post: A New Era for Uzbekistan?September 8, 2016
Blog Post: Freedom Now Participates in the 32nd UN Human Rights CouncilJune 20, 2016
Blog Post: On the Eve of President Karimov’s Re-Election, Thousands Remain Behind Bars in UzbekistanMarch 26, 2015
Eight U.S. Senators Call for Release of Uzbek Journalists and ActivistsNovember 24, 2014
Freedom Now Welcomes Letter by 12 U.S. Senators Calling for the Release of Uzbek Human Rights DefendersJune 26, 2013
Uzbekistan: Where law is now a tool of repressionDecember 17, 2012
Uzbekistan: Free Political Prisoners on Constitution DayDecember 6, 2012
For Immediate Release: Dilmurod Saidov Visited in Prison by Family for his 50th BirthdayMay 3, 2012
Ferghana News Op-ed: 50th Birthday in PrisonApril 26, 2012
Freedom Now Calls on Secretary Clinton to Hold Uzbekistan Accountable for its Human Rights ViolationsSeptember 28, 2011
Huffington Post Op-Ed: Some Straight Talk for a Washington VisitorSeptember 8, 2011
Members of the German Parliament Call on Chancellor Merkel to Raise the Cases of Uzbek Human Rights DefendersMay 19, 2011
Enforcing the Rule of Law
Report to the UN Human Rights CommitteeFebruary 3, 2020
Submission to the UN Human Rights CouncilSeptember 19, 2017
Appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights DefendersApril 1, 2016
Report to the UN Human Rights CommitteeJune 3, 2015
Opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary DetentionNovember 23, 2012
Petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary DetentionMarch 1, 2012
Report to the UN Committee on TortureAugust 12, 2013
Donate Today and Help Free a Prisoner of Conscience
Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?