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Uzbek Dissident Poet Released After Serving Three Years In Jail

Yusuf Juma in a 2005 photo

Yusuf Juma in a 2005 photo

TASHKENT -- Uzbek dissident poet Yusuf Juma, who was jailed for staging an antigovernment protest, has been released after serving three years of his five-year prison term, a human rights activist has told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service.

Abdurakhmon Tashanov, a member of the Tashkent-based Ezgulik (Goodness) human rights center, told RFE/RL today that Juma was brought from the notorious Jaslyk prison in western Uzbekistan to the central detention center in Tashkent several days ago.

He said that Juma was released from the detention center on May 18 and left Uzbekistan for the United States with his daughter on May 19.

Juma, 53, was sentenced to five years in jail in 2008 for "resisting police and injuring two policemen" during an antigovernment demonstration in the city of Bukhara.

Domestic and international human rights organizations had campaigned for Juma's release.

His family alleges that Juma was tortured in prison.

His wife, Gulnora, told a panel in Washington last year that prison officials had broken her husband's ribs, knocked his teeth out, and repeatedly broken his fingers to stop him writing.

According to Tashanov, Juma's early release from jail was based on an amnesty.

Read more in Uzbek here