Ex-China Business Adviser Jailed for Treason by Uzbekistan Court

(Bloomberg) -- A former diplomat who advised an Uzbek-Chinese trade association was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison after a secretive trial in Uzbekistan on Thursday.

Kadyr Yusupov, 67, was convicted of treason in a closed-door military court in the capital, Tashkent, his son Temur Yusupov said by phone. The former head of Uzbekistan’s mission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe was subjected to psychological torture and threats of violence against him and his family if he didn’t confess guilt, according to Human Rights Watch.

The sentence comes amid efforts by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to open up the former Soviet nation of 33 million after more than two decades of isolation under former leader Islam Karimov, who died in 2016. Mirziyoyev outlawed torture and has moved to liberalize the economy, with Uzbekistan selling its first Eurobonds last year.

Yusupov was detained in December 2018, days after he had fallen in front of a Tashkent subway train in what HRW described as an apparent suicide attempt. The case has been shrouded in mystery with Yusupov’s lawyer forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and the nature of the treason charges has not been made public, according to his son.

The press service of the State Security Service, which detained Yusupov, did not respond to repeated calls seeking comment.

Yusupov retired from the diplomatic service in 2009 to consult foreign businesses about investment in Uzbekistan. Prior to his arrest, he served as an adviser to Qing Chang, the chairwoman of the Association of Uzbek-Chinese Trade.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.