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June 3 2008 | UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: no more death rows. The January 1st 2008 abolition decree begins to be put into action

 
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Community of Sant’Egidio

Uzbekistan: no more death rows.  The January 1st 2008 abolition decree begins to be put into action

May 22nd 2008
The Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, according to the January 1st 2008 Presidential Decree on the abolition of death penalty, revised all capital sentences formerly established in the country.
Thanks to that process of revision, all death sentences will be turned to life prison, or 25-20 years of detention.
Everybody already lying in death rows will have thus his life spared, in prospect –for the majority of cases- to be released, sooner or later.
I think it’s important to notice that until January 1st 2008, the Supreme Court had been already reviewing individually all the existing death sentences.
That is a relevant progress for Uzbek justice,  remembering that in other countries of the same area, like Azerbaijan or Kyrgyzstan, death penalty was automatically and unilaterally converted into life prison.
The Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, on the contrary, re-examined every single case of capital sentence, considering all the possible mitigating circumstances in its final verdict.
A plenty of previous death sentences were commuted into 25 years of detention. Indeed, the years to serve in prison will reduce, as the Court took into account  even the time that every inmate already passed in death row. Many prisoners who were given 20 or 25 years sentences, will lie in jail just 5 years, while others who received life prison, will remain in detention only 10 years.
Among them, who were given their previously capital sentence then changed into 25 years of jail, Rustam Makhkamov and Shukrullo Inogamov, both 29, had already been lying 5 years in death row, so they will be released before the time formerly settled.
During six years of backbreaking commitment carried out in Uzbekistan with the Community of Sant’Egidio, we had been able to cancel 22 pending death sentences, and  we had been managing to avoid definite capital sentences to other 50 people. So, after January 1st 2008, everyone of them will have his  life spared. Everybody who lives and will live in Uzbekistan won’t lose anymore his own life because of justice.
Working against death penalty in Uzbekistan, the Community of Sant’Egidio brought about strenuous efforts, urging Uzbek Government to abolish it. The outcome of this hard and  tough battle to save the lives of many people was reached on January 1st 2008, when the capital punishment was revoked from the jurisdictional system of Uzbekistan.
The right to life is a natural, fundamental and inalienable one. Recognizing the incommensurable value of human life, the State puts aside  its own alleged right to freely consider it at its disposal.
Since a long time right now, the Community of Sant’Egidio believes not only that capital penalty is a reminiscence of ancient and dark practices, but also that the State must dismiss its role of “institutional killer” against its own citizens, and that nowadays it is a completely inefficient punishment method, even dangerous, because of the spiral of violence which it starts off inside the society by its suggestion.
Tamara Chikunova

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