Congress Approves Resolution on Sanjar Umarov

by Nathan Hamm on 12/19/2005

[What follows is a press release from the Umarov family — Nathan]

United States Congress Overwhelmingly Approves Resolution Expressing Concern About Detention and Mistreatment of Sanjar Umarov

Sanjar Umarov, Chairman of the Sunshine Coalition of Uzbekistan, Continues to Be Imprisoned in Uzbekistan by the Authoritarian and Repressive Regime of Islam Karimov

(Washington, D.C., December 18, 2005) – The United States Congress has overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressing concern about the detention and mistreatment of Dr. Sanjar Umarov in Uzbekistan. The House of Representatives approved H. Res. 545 (sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) on a voice vote today. On November 2, 2005, the United States Senate unanimously approved S. Res. 295, the companion resolution concerning Dr. Umarov. The Senate resolution was sponsored by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar and joined by Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator John McCain.

Today’s passage of the House resolution represents a historic milestone in Congress. According to research conducted by the Congressional Research Service, it has been at least 20 years since both houses of Congress passed a common resolution strictly addressing the human rights of a foreign political dissident. Our attorneys’ research indicates that the last such resolution was the Mandela Freedom Resolution passed by Congress in 1984 (H. Res. 430 and S. Res. 386, 98th Congress).

Gulam Umarov, Dr. Umarov’s son and spokesperson for the family, expressed his family’s gratitude for the action taken by Congress: “We are profoundly grateful to Members of Congress for their united stand in support of my father. We ask President Bush and his administration to call firmly for democracy and human rights in our country. This is the cause of my father and the hope of all freedom-loving people in Uzbekistan.”

Dr. Sanjar Umarov is Chairman of the Sunshine Coalition of Uzbekistan, the principal secular opposition group in the country. The Sunshine Coalition opposes the repressive policies of President Islam Karimov’s regime and favors democratic, free market, and human rights reforms in Uzbekistan.

On October 22, 2005, the Karimov government arrested Dr. Umarov in Tashkent on baseless charges of financial wrongdoing. Since that time, there have been a number of highly disturbing developments. Dr. Umarov’s Uzbek attorney has observed that Dr. Umarov has exhibited signs of compulsory psychological treatment while in custody. Yet despite these signs, the Karimov government continues to prohibit Dr. Umarov from being examined by independent medical professionals. The Karimov government also continues to obstruct Dr. Umarov’s Uzbek attorneys from investigating the still unspecified charges against Dr. Umarov and providing him with an adequate defense.

The Sunshine Coalition of Uzbekistan is represented by Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. The attorneys of Maynard, Cooper & Gale who are actively involved in representing the Sunshine Coalition are Alan F. Enslen, James L. (Jay) Mitchell, and O.A. “Tres” Cleveland III. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Maynard, Cooper & Gale was founded in 1984 and has grown to over 145 attorneys, emerging as a leading law firm in Alabama as well as the Southeast. The firm offers a full array of legal services to a broad and diverse client base consisting of Fortune 500 companies as well as closely held companies, partnerships, professional associations, charities, and individuals.

H. Res. 545 (PDF)

S. Res. 295 (PDF)

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– 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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