Demand Release of Journalist Tortured into False Confession

Target: Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan

Goal: Release Muhammad Bekzhanov, a man tortured into a false confession.

Muhammad Bekzhanov has been in an Uzbekistan prison for 16 years for a crime he did not commit. The journalist described his hell in writing as he waited to die, saying he was “lying there in a pool of blood” for days without food or water. The editor of a newspaper banned in the country, Bekzhanov was arrested in 1999. He was charged with “anti-state” offenses and beaten, electrocuted and suffocated until he confessed. The coerced confession earned him a 15-year sentence, yet he remains in jail. We must demand his immediate release.

During his trial, Bekzhanov stated he was tortured into the false confession, but his allegations of the abuse were dismissed without investigation. This is a violation of the International Standards of Fairness and thereby an infringement upon human rights. Despite pressure from his attorney and family, the journalist remains incarcerated. His release was initially scheduled for February of 2012, but authorities accused him of violating prison rules and added over four-and-a-half years to his sentence.

Uzbekistani authorities have never investigated Bekzhanov’s torture claims, which is not surprising considering repressive states such as this one are known for using torture tactics to coerce false confessions for imprisonment. We must put a stop to such flagrant and brutal violations of human rights. Demand President Islam Karimov release Muhammad Bekzhanov immediately and change Uzbekistani law to prevent the torture and incarceration of innocent people.


Dear President Karimov,

It is distressing to know that Muhammad Bekzhanov remains in prison. This journalist was arrested and tortured into a false confession 16 years ago. He gave a detailed accounting of his torture during his trial, and your courts dismissed the allegations without an investigation, used the false confession against him, and incarcerated him for a crime he did not commit.

When a man says he was beaten, suffocated, and electrocuted, it is certainly your duty as president to ensure that these allegations are investigated. You have refused to do so and your court blatantly disregarded Bekzhanov’s accounts, thereby violating International Standards of Fairness. Make note, your country is committing a crime against humanity, and we will not stand for it.

You must release Bekzhanov, investigate his allegations of torture fully, and stop allowing your authorities to torture innocent people into false confessions for imprisonment. It is time for Uzbekistan to remove itself from the dark ages and stop committing crimes against humanity. Release Muhammed Bekzhanov immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Helene C. Stikkel

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