Free my Father, the World's Longest Imprisoned Journalist

November 17, 2015

By Aigul Bekzhanova

My name is Aigul, and I am writing to you about my father, imprisoned journalist Muhammad Bekzhanov.

My father is the world’s longest imprisoned journalist, together with his codefendant Yusuf Ruzimuradov from the same paper, jailed at the same time in 1999.

My father’s crime? He dared to speak the truth about human rights abuses by the Uzbekistani government. In 1999, security forces tortured him nearly to death, and forced him to confess to “anti-state” crimes. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

My father’s life is in jeopardy. I need your actions today to help end his nightmare.

He is one of 12 egregious human rights abuse cases highlighted in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign.


In 2004, my mum was able to visit my father. He shared horrible details of his imprisonment.

He was beaten so severely that his right side was paralyzed. His leg and his arm were broken. He was left lying in a pool of blood for days, no food, no water.

Torture is wrong, and my father has paid a horrific price for telling the truth.

Please join me and Amnesty International in demanding the immediate release of my father, journalist Muhammad Bekzhanov.

Aygul Bekzhanova, daughter of Muhammad Bekzhanov Muhammed Bekzhanov, a journalist, the-editor-in-chief of the banned Erk political opposition party newspaper, was sentenced by Tashkent City Court in August 1999 to 15 years in prison, after a trial which fell far short of international standards of fairness. During his trial in August 1999 Muhammad Bekzhanov issued a statement together with his five co-defendants, alleging that they had been tortured in pre-trial detention in order to force them to confess to fabricated charges. He alleged, among other things, that he had been beaten with rubber truncheons and plastic bottles filled with water, suffocated, and given electric shocks. No effective investigation into any of these allegations of torture has ever been conducted despite numerous complaints lodged with the competent authorities by Muhammad Bekzhanov, his lawyer and his family over the years. He was due to have been released in February 2012 after nearly 13 years in detention but a court in the town of Kasan, close to the prison colony where he is serving his sentence, sentenced him to another four years and eight months in prison on 24 January 2012 for allegedly violating prison rules.
Aigul Bekzhanova, daughter of Muhammad Bekzhanov

In January 2012, just days before my father was due to be freed, he was given another four years in jail on a charge of allegedly disobeying prison rules.

If human rights activists like you and me don’t speak out, the Uzbekistani government may keep my father in jail for life.

Let my father know he is not forgotten.

Your actions mean so much to him, and to me. And they may help save his life.

Thank you,

Aigul Bekzhanova
Daughter of imprisoned journalist Muhammad Bekzhanov

Take action NOW by signing up for Write4Rights to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Muhammad Bekzhanov.