(Originally posted to Politics at
Tue, 02 Dec 2003 08:32:12 GMT)
I sign a lot of petitions. Here's one that I wrote a custom letter for.
First, the background.
From: "John - THE LIST" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 6:24 PM
Subject: THE LIST: Action Alert - Free Ruslan Sharipov
THE LIST - Special Alert for Gay Torture Victim
December 1, 2003
Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist in Uzbekistan, is being imprisoned and
tortured because he's gay. His government captors have threatened to
rape him with a bottle and inject him with AIDS. But there is talk that
the government may soon amnesty a few political prisoners. Let's make
sure he is one of them by emailing the 3 key US officials below,
demanding they tell the Uzbek government to free Ruslan Sharipov.
I've managed to get the direct email addresses for these rather
high-ranking US officials. Let's take advantage of our luck. And if
you're not American, no matter - it's still good for them to hear that
people around the world are watching America's actions on this
You can read more about Ruslan's case at the
Human Rights Watch Web site.
Earlier this year, openly-gay journalist Ruslan Sharipov was given a
five-year prison term by the Uzbek government simply because he is an
openly-gay advocate for human rights in his Stalinist homeland. In the
six months he's already been in prison, the 25-year-old Ruslan has been
physically and mentally tortured, and forced to write his own suicide
note. WHY YOUR EMAILS MATTER
This month, December 2003, the Uzbek government, under intense
international pressure from groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
International, is reportedly considering freeing some of its 7,000 to
10,000 political prisoners. We need to make sure that Ruslan is among
I have it on good authority that senior US officials do not believe the
American people care about Ruslan's imprisonment and torture. They
think we don't care that the Bush Administration is giving Uzbekistan
$500 million a year in aid, much of it going towards training the very
state security apparatus that tortures gays and lesbians and other
political prisoners. And they think we don't care that earlier this
year two political prisoners were boiled alive, and that our tax money
helps all of this happen. IT'S TIME TO TELL THE US GOVERNMENT WE DO
President Bush tells us he's fighting for freedom and democracy in
Iraq, then supports a brutal dictator next door. President Bush needs
to start practicing what he preaches. He should tell the government of
Uzbekistan to free gay journalist Ruslan Sharipov. Again, those email
addresses are: - grossmanM2@state.gov - AppletonDE@state.gov -
Thanks so much, and please share this email alert with all of your
friends and colleagues. I truly believe that if we all get involved
now, this is one we can win in no time. (I'm doing this update as a
text-only version so you can easily forward it by email to your friends
Editor, THE LIST and HateCrime.org
PS For more information on Ruslan's case, visit Human Rights Watch Web site.
Here's the letter that I sent.
From: George V. Reilly
To: grossmanM2@state.gov ; AppletonDE@state.gov ; email@example.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 12:03 AM
Subject: Free Ruslan Sharipov
The Bush Administration has taken to arguing that the US invaded Iraq
to save the Iraqi people from the brutality and torture of Saddam
Hussein's regime, and to bring democracy. It's unquestionably good that
the torturers of Iraq are gone.
But the Administration has also given $500 million to Uzbekistan, where
political prisoners have been boiled alive. Have we learned nothing
from the past? Saddam was once our puppet, as were many other dictators
in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere. The CIA helped overthrow
Mossadegh's democratically elected government in Iran in 1953, to our
lasting cost. Supporting brutal dictators may help our strategic
position in the short term, but it makes us look like hypocrites. Can
we not do better than this?
I am particularly concerned about the plight of Ruslan Sharipov, the
gay journalist and human rights advocate who has been imprisoned in
Uzbekistan on trumped-up charges. I ask you to call upon the Uzbek
government to free Sharipov and other political prisoners.
- /George V. Reilly
May it do some good.
Update: Ruslan was released and granted asylum in the U.S..