Samandar Kukanov, 72, is described by human rights activists as one of the longest serving political prisoners in Uzbekistan was finally released on Thursday (November 24) after 22 years in prison.
Kukanov a former parliamentary deputy was sentenced to 20 years in 1994 on charges of embezzlement after he had become a fierce critic of then president Islam Karimov. Karimov died in September after ruling the Central Asian country of 32 million with an iron fist for over 26 years. Karimov was the first president of Uzbekistan from its independence on 1 September 1991 to his death in 2016. a period of 25 years. However, before that, he was the President of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic from 24 March 1990 until he declared the independence ofUzbekistan on 1 September 1991.