Interim President Mirziyaev frees two major political opponents

Individuals were deemed “troublesome” by the previous government. After two months in office, interim President Shavkat Mirziyaev seems more "moderate" than his predecessor, Islam Karimov.

Tashkent (AsiaNews) – In last month, two important political figures have been released from prison along with many others thanks to an amnesty proposed by interim President Shavkat Mirziyaev.

Samandar Qoqonov, a former member of parliament in jail since 1993 for embezzlement, was released at the age of 72. His supporters say that the embezzlement case against him was politically motivated. Yesterday, prison authorities informed the family that a court decision to extend his prison term by two years for breaching prison rules was cancelled.

Bobomurad Razzaqov, a well-known Uzbek human rights lawyer, was also released before the end of his term in prison. The Centre for Human Rights in Tashkent announced that their former colleague, 63-year-old Razzaqov, was released on 25 October. In 2013, he was sentenced to four years for human trafficking, a politically motivated charge according to the Centre.

The two men were freed following a vote in the Uzbek Senate in favour of an amnesty proposed by interim President Shavkat Mirziyaev. Approved on 12 October, the mass clemency called for the release of women, minors, men over 60, the disabled and foreigners.

The interim president, who took office on 8 September after a unanimous vote in the Senate, appears to be taking a more "modern" and "tolerant" approach to governance than his predecessor, Islam Karimov, who died on 2 September.

Another example of such "tolerance" is a government webpage where citizens can submit complaints and suggestions.

The next presidential elections are set for 4 December.