Front Line welcomes the release on 18 May 2011 of Uzbek poet and human rights defender Mr Yusuf Juma. Yusuf Juma is a prominent writer and pro-democracy activist. He was arrested on 22 December 2007 after staging a protest against the arrest of Mashrab Juma, who was reportedly detained on trumped-up charges, in the run-up to the re-election of President Islam Karimov, in an attempt to silence his father.
On 15 April 2008 Yusuf Juma was were charged with assault and “insulting and resisting representatives of the government” during an antigovernment demonstration in the city of Bukhara and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. He was reportedly tortured during the investigation and in 2010 the family of Yusuf Juma issued a public statement about the tortures he had been submitted to in the penal colony in Jaslyk.
Immediately after his release, on 19 May 2011, Yusuf Juma left Uzbekistan for the United States.
Front Line remains concerned that at least 15 other human rights defenders continue to serve long term sentences in Uzbek prisons.