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Uzbekistan Exonerates Soviet-Era Leader Convicted In High-Profile Corruption Case

  • RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

Inomjon Usmonhojaev had served as first secretary of the Communist Party in Uzbekistan (file photo).

TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan has exonerated its Soviet-era leader Inomjon Usmonhojaev, who was convicted during a high-profile anticorruption campaign known as "the Uzbek case" or "the cotton case" in 1989.

Usmonhojaev told RFE/RL on December 8 that he had received a letter from the Supreme Court that said his verdict and sentence had been annulled on November 18 and the probe against him had been canceled.

Usmonhojaev, 86, was the leader of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in 1983-1988. His title was First Secretary of the Communist Party in the republic.

He was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in jail in December 1989. In 1990, Usmonhojaev was released, but he was not exonerated.

His exoneration comes weeks after the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who became leader of Soviet Uzbekistan in 1989 and ruled with an iron hand as president for 25 years following independence.

The anticorruption campaign in Uzbekistan during Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms in mid-1980s led to some 800 probes against officials in Uzbekistan and Russia.

More than 4,000 people, including former Soviet First Deputy Interior Minister Yury Churbanov, who was the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's son-in-law, were jailed.

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