Golden award for jailed journalist

Ruslan Sharipov, an imprisoned Uzbek journalist, has been awarded the 2004 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.

The award is to acknowledge his courageous resistance to attacks, torture and constant harassment under President Islam Karimov’s repressive regime.

WAN said: “Sharipov has endured unspeakable hardships because he has refused to bow to pressure to drop his criticism of the Government and to stop his human rights work.”

In making the award, WAN called on President Karimov to release Sharipov, founder of the Union of Independent Journalists of Uzbekistan, and other imprisoned journalists, and to cease the repression of journalism.

Sharipov was jailed for five years in August last year on sex charges, believed to be a pretext to silence him.

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