TASHKENT (Uzbekistan), Jan 9 — A court in Uzbekistan today sentenced a retired diplomat who served in countries including Britain to five and a half years in prison for treason in a case criticised by international rights groups.
Kadyr Yusupov, 68, has been in custody since his arrest in December 2018. Relatives told Human Rights Watch that he has suffered psychological torture such as threats to harm family members. The rights group has called for his immediate release.
A military tribunal today hearing Yusupov’s case behind closed doors in the capital Tashkent found him guilty, the Supreme Court of the Central Asian country said in a statement.
It gave no details of the accusations against him.
One of his sons, Timur Yusupov, who attended court, told AFP that his father “has lost weight but is still smiling.”
The family intends to appeal, he said.
“We will continue to fight for justice for him through domestic and international mechanisms,” his other son, Baibur Yusupov, wrote on Twitter.
Yusupov worked for almost 30 years as a diplomat in Britain, Austria and Sudan, as well as representing the country at the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe before returning to Uzbekistan in 2009, local media reported.
HRW said that he was arrested as he lay in hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. He was not allowed to meet his lawyer or relatives for almost five months, the rights group said.
After decades of isolation, Uzbekistan has become more open in recent years under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who took charge of Central Asia’s most populous country in 2016 after the death of hardline predecessor Islam Karimov.
While Mirziyoyev has been lauded for doing away with many of Karimov’s authoritarian excesses, the first parliamentary elections under his rule in December lacked opposition parties and respect for fundamental rights, international observers said. — AFP