Czechia President Vaclav Havel To Meet With Salai Madaminov, Sentenced In Absentia To Imprisonment For Terrorism In Uzbekistan

On Wednesday night President of Czechia Vaclav Havel will receive "Uzbek dissident" Salai Madaminov in the presidential residence in Hrad, official representative of the presidential office Gabriela Dluoga reported on Tuesday. In Uzbekistan Madaminov has been sentenced to a long term in prison for terrorism and, at the request of the Uzbek authorities, was put on the Interpol wanted list. On Tuesday Madaminov, kept in the Pankrac prison in Prague, was released from custody until court judgement on his future fate. "I've come to the conclusion that he is indeed a fighter for human rights and a democrat. He was unfairly charged", said Vaclav Havel. The Czech president told reporters that in recent days he held "many consultations" with lawyers, experts and politicians. Last November 17 the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan sentenced Madaminov in absentia to 15.5 years in prison with confiscation of property and to serving the term in a tight-security prison. Together with another 11 sentenced he was charged with an attempt at overthrowing the constitutional regime in Uzbekistan, attempt at the life of President Islam Karimov, arrangement of numerous acts of terrorism, killings, attempts to foment ethnic strife and other grave crimes. In late November Madaminov flew to Prague from Amsterdam on invitation from Radio Liberty/Free Europe and was detained in the neutral zone of the Prague international airport Ruzyne. Uzbekistan asked Czechia to extradite the detained terrorist. Simultaneously, the government of Norway sent an official note to Czechia with a request to free Madaminov. Two years ago Norway granted him the political-refugee status. Oslo had three times refused to extradite Madaminov to Tashkent. The Czech court will pass a final decision on Salai Madaminov at open hearings.

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