The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) expresses its sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of Murad Djuraev after learning that he passed away today.
On 4 December 2017, Murad Djuraev, well known social and political figure and former prisoner of conscience, died suddenly at the age of 65 in the town of Murabek.
His life was a difficult one: he suffered persecution from the Uzbekistani authorities in retaliation for expressing views and having the courage to speak openly about problems in Uzbekistan. As mayor of Mubarek, he supported the opposition Popular Movement of Uzbekistan "Birlik" and its leaders, and in retaliation for this he was imprisoned in 1994 on fabricated charges. In total, he spent 21 years of his life behind bars, serving five consecutive terms on politically motivated sentences. After pressure from the international community, he was released in November 2015 but was already seriously ill.
With great difficulty, he eventually received a passport and, in October this year, was given official permission to travel abroad for treatment.
For the past two years, he was kept under complete surveillance by the National Security Services of Uzbekistan. He was threatened with re-arrest if he spoke to journalists, but he continued to believe that the reforms announced would take place and Uzbekistan would become a country where the observance of human rights would become the norm.
"I believe that only Uzbekistani citizens can contribute to positive change in our country. The main thing is to feel free and not indifferent, and then bars no longer matter” - Murad Juraev told AHRCA in October 2017.
He also dreamed of personally meeting with the activists from AHRCA, Amnesty International, International Partnership of Human Rights, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Norwegian Helsinki Committee and other international organizations and of participating in the next session of the UN Human Rights Council, to say that their participation in the fate of civil society activists in Uzbekistan can contribute to the restoration of justice. And to remind people that there are others currently in detention who need the support of the international community.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia has corresponded regularly with Murad Juraev since the association was set up - his death is a terrible loss for us all.
Rest in peace Murad Juraev.