An Uzbek-American Business Owner Arrested in Uzbekistan
Mr. Zakir Aliev, an Uzbek-American owner of a Virginia tax and accounting company, was arrested in his native Uzbekistan soon after his travel there. Among the Uzbek-American community, Mr. Aliev is known as a philanthropist and a kind-hearted person always eager to help his fellow citizens and community. He is well known for his support for democracy.
Mr. Aliev’s relatives in Chirqochi, Kashkadarya region of Uzbekistan extended him an invitation to visit them and the invitation was approved by the Uzbek Foreign Ministry, and Mr. Aliev was subsequently issued a 90-day visa by the Uzbek embassy in Washington D.C.
However, Mr. Aliev was taken away by the local police within an hour of his arrival at his parents’ home. His whereabouts remain unknown and relatives say Uzbek authorities already managed to charge him under Article 159 of the Uzbek criminal code, an article loosely used to jail Uzbekistan’s critics under the previous Karimov regime, known for its miserable human rights records.
Mr. Aliev’s plight and reported treatment by Uzbekistan’s authorities is a direct contradiction against the country’s president Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s public stance, who voiced his wish, while recently visiting President Trump, to welcome back to Uzbekistan all of his compatriots currently residing and working in the US and other parts of the world.
Mr. Aliev, undoubtedly inspired by the Uzbek president’s words, wanted to visit his native home and relatives only to find the opposite of what Mr. Mirziyoyev had promised and to face uncertain and unfair prospects. Mr. Aliev’s treatment and the charges against him are unsubstantiated and even seem ludicrous. As a US citizen, Mr. Aliev must be given access to US consular officer and immediately released before any unsubstantiated allegations against him and this incident adversely affect new Uzbekistan’s efforts to establish good relations with the US.
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