This latest piece from my colleague Sarah Kendzior on Uzbek exiles in the US seeking free speech against tyranny is deeply moving.
Image what it must be like to be from a country where to challenge the government from thousands of miles away means condemning your family at home to prison sentences on the most bogus of charges.
In the United States, the Choriyevs could be considered an immigrant success story. But in Uzbekistan, they are considered enemies of the state. The week he held the company event, Bobir learned that his father, 71-year-old Hasan Choriyev, had been arrested in Uzbekistan. It was not the first time Hasan had been targeted. In recent years, the Uzbek government had confiscated his property and interrogated him over his son’s activities. But this was the first time Hasan had been sent to jail.
His crime? Being part of a family of political dissidents, safe in the US but vulnerable in Uzbekistan.
The plight of the Choriyev family speaks to the modern version of an old authoritarian tactic: punishing activists abroad by persecuting their relatives at home.
This is why we fight for the principles of liberal democracy at home and abroad – because they matter immensely to the daily lives of free citizens.
Perhaps one day we will live to see a time when all dictators like Karimov have been driven from the world scene.