TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan's Supreme Court has rejected a request by former politician Samandar Qoqonov, who was released from prison in late 2016 after spending almost 24 years behind bars, to be exonerated of all charges against him.
Qoqonov told RFE/RL that the court ruled on July 10 that "all charges in the case against Qoqonov had been proven" and therefore he cannot be exonerated.
The 75-year-old former lawmaker, who was dubbed by his supporters "Uzbekistan’s longest-held political prisoner," was arrested in July 1993 and charged with embezzlement.
He insists that the case against him was fabricated on orders by late strongman President Islam Karimov.
He was initially sentenced to 20 years in jail in 1994, but his term was subsequently extended.
Karimov died in 2016 after ruling Central Asia's most populous country of 32 million for more than 25 years.
His successor, President Shavkat Mirziyoev, has released many political prisoners as part of a policy of gradually reducing authoritarian control in the county.