Freedom House appeals to Ukrainian government asking to free the Uzbek journalist
Marc Behrendt, the Director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House, thinks that the government of Ukraine should immediately free the arrested Uzbek journalist Narzullo Okhunzhonov and to expediently consider his application for asylum. This statement was published by Freedom House due to impairment of health condition of Narzullo Okhunzhonov, who was arrested on September 20 as he came with his family to Ukraine seeking political asylum. “The accusations by the Uzbekistan government in the Interpol warrant for arrest are obviousl politically motivated and can just be a proof that authoritarian regimes use Interpol system for their purposes to persecute their political opponents, journalists, advocates, and others. Ukraine will strengthen its position in advancing to democracy if it offers asylum and protection for the persecuted”, the statement reads. As the organization points out, Fair Trials International and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe noted that Interpol and their system “Red Notice” are misused for persecuting the unwanted individuals. Okhunzhonov faced politically motivated accusations in bribery and fraud, and can be imprisoned for 20 years based on these accusations. He fled frim Uzbekistan to Turkey in 2013 after the authorities started to threaten to arrest him. When the political situation in Turkey deteriorated, Okhunzhonov, together with his wife and five children, filed an application for political asylum in Ukraine.
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