Uzbekistan. In January, President and dictator Islam
Karimov highlighted opposition to Moscow attracting several
former Soviet republics into the Euro-Asian Economic Union.
Karimov said his country will never join an alliance similar
to the Soviet Union. With obvious reference to the Russian
Federation, he stated that some countries are trying to
glorify the Stalin, which Uzbekistan does not intend to
accept. Karimov also said that Uzbekistan should not allow
foreign military bases on its territory.
COUNTRYAAH, Karimov spoke to the newly elected parliament after two
ballots in December and January. The election was won by the
Liberal Democratic Party with 52 seats, followed by the
National Rebirth Party, which increased slightly to 36
seats. Together they had a majority and formed a government
According to the OSCE election observers, there was no
real competition in the elections. Freedom of speech and
association is lacking, according to the OSCE. The four
parties that shared 135 seats supported all President
Karimov, and the remaining 15 seats went to the
government-friendly Ecological Movement. The opposition, who
largely lives in exile, called for a boycott of the
election, and after the election, it closed one of its
websites because employees in the home country were
threatened. Human Rights Watch urged the regime to release
all political prisoners.
In March, information came out that Karimov's daughter
Gulnara Karimova's corrupt business is much more extensive
than previously known. Karimova may have squeezed out the
equivalent of over SEK 8 billion from TeliaSonera and other
foreign telecom companies operating in Uzbekistan.
TeliaSonera is being investigated for suspicions of bribing
Karimova to obtain licenses in Uzbekistan.
In the March presidential election, the one-term Karimov
ran for re-election for a fourth term, even though the
constitution limits the term to two. According to official
data, Karimov received 90.4% of the vote. The other three
candidates who were allowed to stand supported all Karimov.
However, Karimov's power was not unlimited over the
senses. Despite the harsh oppression of all opposition, or
perhaps because of it and because of unemployment and
poverty, many Fergana Valley uzbooks were reported to join
the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization in Syria and
TeliaSonera announced in May that the company's
subsidiary will cease funding its disputed cotton harvest in
Uzbekistan. Among other things, the company has paid for
meals to the forced-paid workers, many of whom are children.
The program has received harsh criticism from human rights
organizations, and at the beginning of the year, an
inspector who came to investigate child labor in the cotton
industry was arrested and rejected.
Uzbekistanis in Sweden stated during the year that the
Uzbekistan Security Service has stepped up its persecution
of opposers in exile. Among other things, an independent
online newspaper with editorial staff in Sweden was forced
to close after the site was hacked and the secret employees
of Uzbekistan were revealed. An opposition imam has been
murdered in Turkey, and Swedish SÄPO has investigated Uzbek
refugee pioneers. Amnesty described the persecution as very
serious and criticized the Migration Board for re-permitting
rejections to Uzbekistan after a few months' stoppage in
In August, the Russian Federation extradited to
Uzbekistani citizens who on suspicion of the Uzbekistani
regime suspected of attempted murder of an opposition imam
and politician, Obid Nazarov, in Strömsund 2012. Nazarov is
a leading critic of Karimov's regime and came to Sweden as a
refugee in 2006.
In November, charges were filed against the suspected
perpetrator, and according to the prosecutor, the attempted
murder was ordered by the Uzbek regime. The accused denied
the crime, and the Uzbek authorities refused to cooperate
with the Swedish judiciary. The extradition from the Russian
Federation came after more than three years of inquiry and
was believed to be due to deteriorating relations between
Moscow and Uzbekistan.
In November, US Secretary of State John Kerry came to a
Central Asian meeting in Samarkand, where he met, among
others, President Karimov. It was the highest ranking
American politician that Karimov had met for years. Kerry
was said to have raised human rights issues, but he did not
make public criticism.
The United States wants to maintain cooperation with
Uzbekistan, a strategic partner for transportation to the
military operation in Afghanistan. At the same time, Moscow
has shown signs of wanting to strengthen its military
presence in the region, citing the risk of infiltrating IS.
During the visit, Kerry's staff raised named political
prisoners with the Uzbek Foreign Minister, after which the
regime released opposition politician Murod Jurajev, who has
been imprisoned for over 20 years. According to a human
rights group, Yurajev has been regularly tortured. He sat in
parliament for a party now banned and was convicted of
trying to overthrow the regime.