09/05/2020, 08.00
UZBEKISTAN
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Muslim prisoner of conscience denied family visits

Khayrullo Turdiyevich Tursunov, who asked his sister to visit him "for the last time", is serving a 16-year sentence for studying the Qurʼān and praying without authorisation. In prison he caught tuberculosis.

Tashkent (AsiaNews/Forum 18) – Khayrullo Turdiyevich Tursunov, a 45-year-old Muslim prisoner of conscience, was transferred from a "special regime" prison in Karaulbazar to a "strict regime" prison in Navoiy, towards north-eastern Uzbekistan.

His family, which cannot visit him officially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, lives in Karshi, in the south of country, approximately 250 km from Navoiy, a four-hour drive because of the poor state of the roads.

Tursonov's relatives wonder why the authorities moved him to such a distant prison instead of holding him in a nearby prison.

Forum 18 reports that the family is also concerned because in a recent phone call Khayrullo asked his sister Nigora Tursunova to visit him perhaps “for the last time".

She fears for her brother’s health since he caught tuberculosis in Karaulbazar prison.  For their part, prison officials claim his "safety is guaranteed and he is engaged in useful labour".

In June 2013, Khayrullo Tursunov was sentenced to 16 years in prison for studying the Qurʼān and praying in private with fellow Muslims.

Such activities were not authorised. As a consequence, Tursunov was arrested after being extradited from Kazakhstan.

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