BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the below statement following the release of Uzbek political prisoner and dissident Murod Juraev.
Last month, Sen. Cardin wrote a letter to Secretary Kerry expressing concern about the erosion of democracy and human rights in Central Asia and highlighted the plight of Murod Juraev.
“While I welcome the release of political prisoner and dissident Murod Juraev whose 21-year incarceration I highlighted in a letter to Secretary Kerry last month, there remains thousands of prisoners in Uzbekistan who have been jailed under false pretenses and denied fair and transparent access to justice. Uzbekistan continues to rank among the world’s worst human rights offenders for its lack of respect for individual rights, media freedom, and religious tolerance. Further, many of the human rights defenders and peaceful activists still languishing in detention are the victims of ongoing physical torture and psychological abuse. While Mr. Juraev’s release is a step in the right direction, I call on the Uzbek government to release all of the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who remain incarcerated.”