Uzbekistan: writer Mamadali Makhmudov set free!

19 April 2013 writer Mamadali Makhmudov was set free. At 19:00 he crossed the threshold of his house; his son met him. Today he saw his five grandchildren for the first time.

Mamadali Makhmudov, 1990

Writer Mamadali MAKHMUDOV (creative pen name Evril Turon) born in 1940, citizen of Uzbekistan, former Chairman of the Culture Foundation of Uzbekistan, leader of the “Turkestan” movement founded upon the initiative of the Uzbek intellectuals and active from 1989 through 1993. Laureate of the international Hellman/Hammett Award for writers – victims of persecution for political views and of national award “Cholpan” founded in commemoration of victims of Stalin’s repressions, which he received for his historical novel “Immortal Rocks”. In 2008 French Publishing House LAUBE published that novel in French in Philippe Frison’s translation.
  • Mamadali Makhmudov’s Case
26 February 1999 the writer was arrested. 18 August 1999 Tashkent province court sentenced him to 14  years of imprisonment under Articles 25-159 Part 4 of Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan (encroachment on the constitutional order); 216 (formation of banned public associations and religions organisations); 242 Part 1 (formation of a criminal association). Before his transfer to the Tashkent prison he served his sentence in the strict regime colony UYa 64/6 in Chirchik city, Tashkent province. This is not the first conviction of the writer upon fabricated charges.

In 1994 Mamadali Makhmudov was planted drugs and flyers of “Erk” Party were found on him during search. Keeping flyers does not constitute a violation of the law, but it became one of the pretexts for his criminal prosecution. Consequently, he was held criminally liable upon groundless charges of “embezzlement”. He was then a Chairman of the Culture Foundation of Uzbekistan. Wide public response and international campaign in support of the writer influenced the authorities and he was freed under an amnesty act.

16 February 2013 his prison term under the 1999 sentence ended.

8 April 2013 in the Gazalkent court of the Tashkent province a new court hearing over the writer Mamadali Makhmudov took place. 72-year old writer was sentenced to three years of jail under Article 221 of Criminal Code of Uzbekistan “Disobedience of lawful demands of the administration of the penitentiary institutions”.

At the stage of appeal against the last sentence the writer Makhmudov was discharged from prison. Unexpectedly for everybody on 19 April 2013 at 19:00 he crossed the threshold of his home.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia expresses its deep heartfelt gratitude to all who contributed to the release of the writer Mamadali Makhmudov.