Tashkent Protest Hero Lives In St. Louis

by Laurence on 5/8/2005 · 1 comment

St. Louis Today reports how Bakhodir Choriyev found asylum in the US:

He began making plans for a political meeting to be held June 1, 2004, in Tashkent, where he planned to call for Karimov’s resignation. He hoped that 500 people would show.

Choriyev applied three times to the mayor’s office for a permit but said he received no reply. He picketed outside the office for several days wearing a T-shirt that demanded Karimov’s resignation.

Then on May 21, several unknown men grabbed Choriyev from his car. They bound his hands and feet, tied a hood over his head and drove him to an abandoned house outside town. There, they beat him and left him stripped to his underwear.

When he made it known that he planned to still continue with the meeting, he received two threatening phone calls.

On the morning of the meeting, police took Choriyev’s 9-year-old son into custody and held him for eight hours. Plainclothes and uniformed police surrounded the family’s apartment building. They and other authorities prevented the family from leaving the building.

Later, police forced Choriyev and about 18 of his relatives onto a bus and again drove them outside the city. The women were released right away, but the men were held for two days, interrogated, beaten and forced to sign a letter saying they wouldn’t protest anymore. Authorities burned Choriyev’s car.

A few days later he was put under arrest and told not to leave Tashkent.

When he made plans to attend another protest, he again was beaten, a criminal case was opened against him and state agents threatened the life of his wife and children. This time, he fled with the family to Moscow. There, he approached a U.N. mission and asked for political asylum. The United States granted refugee status to Choriyev, his wife and four children. Seven months after reaching Moscow, they arrived in St. Louis, one of several cities in the country where refugees are resettled.

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{ 1 comment }

Nathan May 8, 2005 at 4:37 pm

You beat me to it!

I wonder why St. Louis is such a common resettlement site. I’ve heard it mentioned a lot by people at the resettlement agency I occasionally work with.

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