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14 years and counting: Action to free Uzbek writer

UPDATE: PEN International reports that writer Mamadali Makhmudov was freed from prison on 19 April 2013. For details, see PEN's update here.

Uzbek writer Mamadali Makhmudov prior to his imprisonment in 1999.
Uzbek writer Mamadali Makhmudov prior to his imprisonment in 1999.
Send an online letter demanding freedom for Uzbek writer Mamadali Makhmudov, who will not be released from prison on the completion of his 14-year jail term this year as expected. This letter is an initiative of English PEN and the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International.

Send your letter now!

On 5 March 2013, the 72-year old Makhmudov, an award-winning writer and opposition activist, was informed that a new criminal case had been filed against him for allegedly violating prison rules repeatedly. He is now reported to be facing a further five years in prison, in accordance with Article 221 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

According to Amnesty International, he has been imprisoned "in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions. His family have been denied visits and fear that he may not survive a further term in prison." For more information on these developments, please see Amnesty International's Urgent Action appeal.

PEN calls for Mamadali Makhmudov to be released immediately and unconditionally, and urges the authorities to ensure that he is provided with all necessary medical attention as a matter of urgency.


Click here to take action now and sign PEN's online letter to President Islam Karimov and other authorities:
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Mamadali Makhmudov on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Uzbekistan is party;
  • Urging the authorities to ensure that Mamadali Makhmudov is provided with all necessary medical treatment as a matter of utmost urgency.

    BACKGROUND: Makhmudov, an Honorary Member of English PEN, is already one of the longest serving writers in prison on the PEN International case list, having been detained since he was sentenced in August 1999. "He suffers from tuberculosis and high blood pressure, made worse by many years he has spent behind bars, and there are fears that he may not survive an additional prison term," says PEN.

    According to Amnesty International and PEN, Makhmudov was jailed "on charges of attempting to violently overthrow the constitutional order, establishing prohibited public and religious organizations and setting up a criminal group. He has always denied the charges and said that he was tortured in pre-trial detention in order to force him to 'confess' to the charges."

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