Please Write To Your MP About Maksim Popov 10


This is Maksim Popov, an Uzbek psychologist sentenced to seven years in Karimov’s notorious jails for running an AIDS charity which distributed needles, condoms and UN supplied literature.

There is an excellent article about Maksim in Guardian CIF. As usual with web articles on Uzbekistan, many of the comments are from Karimov trolls.

The swift spread of AIDS in Uzbekistan is fuelled by the flood of heroin from the Dostum held areas of Afghanistan, in the trafficking of which Dostum and Karimov are personally involved. This is what UK citizen Richard Conroy of the UN was investigating when he was killed in a plane crash.

The Uzbek government bans programmes of free needles and also of free condoms – yet at the same time it seeks to reduce population through a forced sterilisation programme.

Even though Maksim Popov received some DFID and USAID funding for his work, neither the US nor the UK has made any protest to Uzbekistan about Popov’s jailing. The last UK government put their military alliance with Uzbekistan over Afghanistan as first and last in their relationship with Karimov, and increasingly refused to act over, or even to acknowledge, the dire state of human rights in the country.

I urge you strongly to write to your MP and urge the British government to protest formally to Uzbekistan over the jailing of Maksim Popov. International pressure can have an effect – it secured the release of Umida Akhmedova, whose sentence for publishing photographs that “damaged the image of Uzbekistan” has been suspended.

But it is also very important that you write now. I know from experience that the civil service will be gleaning from Ministers in the new government their first “Lines to Take”, to give policy direction on various questions. I am quite sure that Maksim will not mind if, in trying to help him, we also bring to the front of Minsters’ minds the human rights situation in Uzbekistan. (If you write to your MP, they should forward it to the Foreign Office and it will get a ministerial reply).

In opposition William Hague had raised the question of torture in Uzbekistan and our complicity in it.

Whether or not he is prepared to take action over Maksim Popov’s dreadful imprisonment will be an early indication as to whether foreign policy may improve.

You can get details of your MP here:

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10 thoughts on “Please Write To Your MP About Maksim Popov

  • Abe Rene

    As it has been spoken, O Pharaoh, so has it been done; I have written to my MP. Let’s hope Popov is quickly released, and also that Karimov finds William Hague much tougher to deal with than Jack Straw on the question of human rights.

  • Andy Keen

    I have also written to my new, disturbingly youthful MP. Had the same problem with TheyWorkForYou, so am going to try one of those red things they have on the streets – I haven’t risked putting something in one of those slots for a while – feels kind of quaint …

    Also forwarded to local Amnesty group. Only joined 2 months ago so not sure what they will think – oh well …

  • Paul J. Lewis

    Sent an email to my MP. Also send one to AI UK in case they hadn’t heard.

  • david

    Got a reply from my MP saying that he had made representations to the foriegn office on my behalf and that he will write again if he hears anything back…. Im guessing that will be the last of that… except I have a note in my calander to write to him again in 1 month 🙂

  • Uzbek

    Mr. Murray,

    Could please kindly assist in campaigning for release of Khayrulla Khamidov, a journalist, who was sentenced for six years today, May 27, 2010?

  • Guli

    To people of dignity,

    Please help to campaign a release of Hayrulla Hamidov, journalist, who has been convicted unjustly today, May 27, 2010.

    Thank you and May God bless you all.

    Another Uzbek journalist faces conviction ?” The Tashkent Region criminal court has ruled on placing the deputy editor-in-chief of the Chempion (Champion) newspaper, Hayrulla Hamidov, who was detained on 21 January, under arrest. If convicted, Hamidov may face a jail term of up to five years.

    The journalist was charged under Article 216 of the Uzbek Criminal Code ?” “illegal establishment of public or religious organisations”, which is punishable by a fine of 50 to 100 minimum wages and a six-month prison term, or up to five years in jail.

    Hamidov was detained on 21 January after a four-hour search in his flat which resulted in officers of the Tashkent Region police department seizing religious literature and audio and video materials, including a copy of the Koran.

    He has been working as deputy editor-in-chief of the sport Chempion newspaper. He is also a well-known football commentator in Uzbekistan.

    Before joining Chempion, Hamidov published the Odamlar Orasida (Among People) socio-political newspaper, which was shut down by the Uzbek Press and Information Committee in July 2007 because it annoyed many Uzbek officials by raising topical social problems.

    The actuality of problems raised by the newspaper and the independence of views of its writers had made it one of the country’s most popular papers and its circulation exceeded 24,000 per issue.

    He also worked with the Tashkent-based Navruz FM station and hosted a radio show on Islam. The journalist’s colleagues believe that precisely these facts have become reasons for his detention now.

    The journalist’s lawyer Alisher Salohutdinov said that his client was in the Tashkent Region police department’s detention centre now, and that there had been no violation of his rights by police. He refused to give any further comment. estimates that Uzbekistan has jailed at least 14 journalists now, and Hayrulla Hamidov may well be next.

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