After the suprising early release from a labour camp, where he had spent over 9 years of imprisonment, Salidjon Abudarkhmanov was finally able to receive the award money in May 2018. Thanks to the great help of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Embassy in Tashkent, we could transfer the money despite international restrictions like the Money Laundring and Terrorism Financing Acts imposed on bank transfers from Germany to Uzbekistan.
After his release, Salidjon Abdurakhmanov had several urgent surgeries that restored his health to a great extend. Now, he looks to the future in a very positive way and is full of power for projects to come: He set up a local news channel focusing on the devastation of the Lake Aral, works for several news agencies, started a book project about his imprisonment and visited Germany twice.
When he came to see us in Schorndorf in summer 2018, we also took him to Braunau/ Austria to see the gravesite of our namesake Johann Philipp Palm. It was our 2014 award winner´s burning desire to do so. Together, we layed down a floral wreath at Palm´s anniversary of death and Salidjon Abdurakhmanov held a moving speech:
"The moment of truth has come for my country. The Palm Award obliges me to work with double power. I´m encouraged by the belief that the shining light, inflamed by Johann Philipp Palm for the sake of his life, will guide the way in the struggle for freedom of speech and the press for millions of people, not only in my country Uzbekistan, but throughout the whole world."
News Agency centre1.com (Russian)
Salidjon Abdurakhmanov´s words of thanks after his release in December 2018