Asylum Granted (Updated)

by Nathan Hamm on 10/26/2004

Asror tipped me off that Ruslan Sharipov has been granted asylum in the United States.

WAN, Paris, 25.10.2004 — Ruslan Sharipov, the 2004 laureate of the Golden Pen of Freedom press freedom prize, has been granted asylum in the United States after fleeing Uzbekistan in the face of serious threats to his safety.

Mr Sharipov, who had served 10 months in prison and was continuing his sentence under house arrest, fled Uzbekistan in June and was living in Moscow until his asylum was approved last week. He arrived in the United States on Thursday and will stay with relatives in Sacramento, California.

“We are relieved that Mr Sharipov is beyond the reach of Uzbek authorities, and we hope that he can one day return to a free and democratic Uzbekistan,” said Kajsa TÆrnroth, Director of Press Freedom Programmes for the World Association of Newspapers.

The Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of WAN, was presented to Mr Sharipov in June for his courageous human rights and freedom of expression initiatives in the face of attacks, torture and constant harassment.

Mr Sharipov, 25, was sentenced to four years in prison in August 2003 for “engaging in homosexual acts” — a pretext to silence him and stop his human rights work.

He was held in a high security prison from his arrest in May 2003 until March, when he was transferred to house arrest.

Mr Sharipov is the founder of the Union of Independent Journalists of Uzbekistan and a correspondent for the Moscow Human Rights Agency. Before his imprisonment, he reported regularly on the state of the media and press freedom in Uzbekistan, and about human rights violations in the central Asian nation.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 13 news agencies and ten regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

UPDATE:
Even better news is that Ruslan is already here and in Sacramento with his mother and brother.


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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