I cannot believe Alisher Saipov is dead. When last I saw him he can only have been 23 years old, and was so brimming with energy, life and optimism. Now at 26 he is dead, just the latest dissident to be murdered by the Karimov regime. There is a lovely tribute from Natalia Antaleva here.
Coming so hard on the murder of my friend Mark Weil, I really am overwhelmed by the sheer horror of it all.
http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article2970807.ece The dissident movement in Uzbekistan has been almost entirely exiled, incarcerated or murdered now, and the state becomes ever more of a nightmare. I find it crushing – and I am not even an Uzbek.
There is an absolutely vital item on Uzbekistan coming on BBC2 Newsnight on Tuesday 30 October. It looks at the slavery of the people while Karimov and his oligarchs become billionaires. Please do watch it.
Meantime, Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North (and thus Arsenal FC), had tried through a parliamentary question to obtain from the British Government the reports I put in from the British Embassy in Tashkent regarding Alisher Usmanov’s corrupt dealings with the Karimovs and Putin.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish reports received from British embassies relating to Alisher Usmanov. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Such information would constitute personal data. A request for personal information brings into play the relevant legislative provisions on data release by the Government and would require the consent of the individual concerned.
That stonewalling answer is, when you think about it, quite astonishing. The government can never tell you about Mugabe, or Slobodan Milosevic, or anyone else, without their consent? Of course it is a nonsense excuse – which leads to the question, why is New Labour supporting Usmanov in covering up his past?
They also will not tell us why (if my sources are correct) he received a British passport:
British Citizenship: Alisher Usmanov
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty’s Government:
Whether Mr Alisher Usmanov holds British citizenship, whether honorary or not; and, if so, when and why it was granted. [HL5411]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is the policy of the Border and Immigration Agency not to comment publicly on individual cases.
Again that is nonsense – you may recall Peter Mandelson had to resign for the second time for improperly facilitating the passport application of another dodgy billionaire. Did the government simply take the line that it could not comment on an individual passport application? No, it did not.
For some reason New Labour is trying to clamp down debate on Mr Usmanov. I wonder if Gallagher Holdings, or any of Usmanov’s other companies, will turn out to have made donations or “loans” to New Labour?