TASHKENT: Uzbekistan said on Friday it had handed long jail terms to over a dozen people believed to be close associates of President Islam Karimov’s once powerful eldest daughter.
Gulnara Karimova was seen as a potential successor to her 76-year-old father, who has ruled the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan since before the fall of the Soviet Union.
But that changed late last year when she disappeared from the public eye after openly criticising key officials, and is now rumoured to be held under house arrest. Her businesses, charities and TV stations have since been closed down, signalling the dramatic fall from grace of one of Uzbekistan’s most influential figures. Uzbekistan’s general prosecutor’s office said 13 people — including Rustam Madumarov, believed to be Karimova’s long-term boyfriend — had been sentenced by a military court.
Madumarov owns a giant DVD chain store called Nirvana that has been linked to Gulnara Karimova’s business empire.
Another of her associates, Gayane Avakyan, was among those sentenced to “long prison terms” on May 24, prosecutors said in a statement, without providing further details.
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