Uzbekistan: convicted writer Mamadali Makhmudov is presented with new charges

The investigation on the new criminal case against 72-year old prisoner Uzbek writer Mamadali Makhmudov is condluded. He faces a prison term extension of at least another three and half  years.
Mamadali Makhmudov, 1990
Writer Mamadali MAKHMUDOV (pen name Evril Turon) was born in 1940, citizen of Uzbekistan, former chairman of the Culture Foundation of Uzbekistan, leader of the movement “Turkestan” founded by the initiative of the Uzbek intellectuals, which existed from 1989 to 1993. Laureate of the Hellman – Hammett award given to writers, victims of political persecution and “Cholpan” award instituted in memory of the victims of Stalin’s repressions, which he received for the historical novel “Immortal Rocks”. In 2008 French Publisher "L’AUBE" published this novel in the French translation by Philippe Frizon.

On 5 March 2013, Mamadali Mahmudov was informed that the prosecutor signed the indictment, which stated that over the years of his imprisonment he committed 31 offenses. According to the writer, he was never told before "what a malicious law breaker" he was. On charges under Article 221 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, "Disobedience to lawful demands of the administration of the penal institutions", the 72-year old writer is facing a new sentence of minimum of three and a half years.

On 6 March 2013, Mamadali Makhmudov was allowed to see his solicitor. According to the lawyer, the imprisoned writer looks depressed and did not see the point in disputing the decision. He is sure that he will not be released.

When asked why, in November 2012, there was a deep wound on his head that his daughter spotted during her meeting with him, Makhmudov explained that it was the result of his fall as a result of having high blood pressure. However, all this does not exclude the possibility of him being subjected to torture. And the hopes that soon he would be allowed to see his family, whom he did not see during the investigation, are quashed. Now the writer is awaiting the court hearing and is sure that he will be convicted. Even if the family hires a lawyer for him, the lawyer will not be able to help him.

  • Mamadali Makhmudov’s case
On 26 February 1999 the writer was detained. On 18 August 1999 the Tashkent regional court sentenced his to 14 years of imprisonment under the Article 25-159, Part 4 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan (encroachment on constitutional order); Article 216 (organisation of prohibited public associations and religious organisations); Article 242 Part 1 (organisation of criminal associations). Before his transfer to the Tashkent prison he was serving his sentence in the High Security Prison UYa 64/6, at the town of Chirchik, Tashkent Region. This is not the first conviction of the writer on fabricated charges. 

In 1994 Mamadali Makhmudov was planted drugs and during search in his house leaflets of the party “Erk” were found. Keeping leaflets does not violate the law, however, that became one of the pretexts for criminal prosecution. Afterwards, he was held criminally liable upon groundless charges of “embezzlement”. He was then the Chairman of the Culture Foundation of Uzbekistan. Wide public response and international campaign in support of the writer influenced the authorities and he was released under an amnesty act.

The Association “Human Rights in Central Asia” petitions to all interested parties, organisations and mass media to take a stand and demand the release of Mamadali Makhmudov from prison.

In the past we issued:
- Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Laurent Fabius about Mamadali Makhmudov dated 27 February 2013;
          - Press Release “Uzbekistan: jailed writer Mamadali Makhmudov is at risk of the new term of imprisonment” dated 13 February 2013;
          - Press Release “Uzbekistan: A campaign for the release of writer Mamadali Makhmudov” dated 1 December 2008.