The UN welcomed the news that former UN employee Erkin Musaev has been released by the Uzbek authorities, 11 years after he was arrested at Tashkent airport while travelling to a regional seminar. Musaev, who was the country manager of a joint UNDP-European Union programme, was tried on three separate charges in 2006 and 2007 receiving sentences of 15, 6 and 4 years respectively.
In 2008, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that he had not been tried fairly and that his detention was arbitrary. His case was subsequently taken up by various other UN Special Procedures and the Human Rights Committee, as well as by three successive High Commissioners for Human Rights.
The current High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, raised Mr Musaev’s case in his meeting with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev when he made the first ever visit to Uzbekistan by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in May this year.
During that visit, Zeid also welcomed the release of a number of other political prisoners since Shavkat Mirziyoyev became President in December 2016, and urged the authorities to release all political prisoners, some of whom – like Erkin Musaev – also received very long prison sentences after highly problematic trial processes.