A senior U.S. official urged Uzbek authorities on Monday to grant amnesty to Ruslan Sharipov, a gay journalist jailed on sodomy charges in a case that has drawn international criticism. "We do believe...that he should be amnestied," Lorne Craner, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, told journalists in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, during a visit with the U.S. assistant secretary of state A. Elizabeth Jones.
Sharipov, who is openly gay, was convicted in August of sodomy and having sex with minors and is serving a four-year prison term. His case has drawn much attention from international media and human rights groups who have demanded his immediate release, saying he was persecuted for his criticism of the government. In an interview from prison this month, Sharipov said had been forced to confess through torture and threats.