“Muhammad Bekzhanov has languished in jail for 17 long years. His prison sentence was handed down after an unfair trial and severe torture, and arbitrarily extended as the authorities have not forgiven Bekzhanov’s political activism. At the time of his release, Bekzhanov was one of the world’s longest prison-held journalists,” - said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.
Muhammad was arrested in 1999 after being accused of involvement in a series of terrorist attacks committed in Tashkent in February of the same year. However, he had faced harassment by the authorities in connection with his role as the editor of the banned newspaper Erk and for being the brother of Muhammad Salih, the leader of the opposition People's Movement of Uzbekistan.