Uzbek Rights Activist Released After 10 Years Imprisonment

A jailed Uzbek human rights activist, Agzam Farmonov, whose 2006 extortion conviction was widely seen as politically motivated, has been released from the notorious Jaslyq prison in northern Uzbekistan.

The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent hailed Farmonov's October 3 release and said that Washington "acknowledges President [Shavkat] Mirziyoev's commitment to strengthening human rights protections in Uzbekistan, as stated in his address at the United Nations, and we look forward to sustained stability and progress towards broad political, social, and human rights reforms."

Farmonov, 40, was convicted and sentenced to 9 1/2 years in jail in 2006.

He led a branch of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan in the eastern Sirdaryo region at the time of his arrest, which supporters say was the main reason for the trumped-up charges used to have him imprisoned.

Weeks before he was due to be released in 2016, his prison term was extended by five years and 26 days for what the authorities said was "bad behavior while in custody."