Human-rights activists are celebrating after the world’s longest-imprisoned journalist was freed after 19 years in jail in Uzbekistan. Yusuf Ruzimuradov was tortured and underwent a bogus trial on false political charges, according to the Human Rights Watch group. But as they breathed a sigh of relief, campaigners called on the country’s President to drop charges against two other journalists who are due in court tomorrow. The pair could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Mr Ruzimuradov, now 64, has reportedly been released with unspecified restrictions. He was a reporter for opposition newspaper Erk – which means “freedom” – when he was jailed in 1999 on anti-state charges. He was convicted with his editor, Muhammad Bekjanov, on charges of publishing and distributing a banned newspaper, which was considered part of an attempt to overthrow the government. After 19 years, the reporter became the longest-imprisoned journalist worldwide, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
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