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Sanjar Umarov
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    (April 7, 1956- )
    Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
    Chairman of ‘Sunshine Uzbekistan,' the main opposition party in Uzbekistan
    Founder of the telecommunications company Uzdunrobita (February 1991)
    Arrested on charges of embezzlement (October 2005)
    Lived in Germantown, Tennessee
    He originated from Uzbekistan’s ruling elite, which became rich during the post-Soviet era while most people remained dirt poor.
    He was convicted of leading a criminal group involved in money laundering, tax evasion, and concealment of foreign currency, which resulted in a 14-year jail sentence (March 2006).
    The company he founded ended up being in the hands of Gulnara Karimova until she sold it (2004).
    He had a hard time trying to win support from Uzbekistan’s masses, who have a deep mistrust toward the country’s elite.
    Even some opposition groups in Uzbekistan criticized him for not representing the opposition’s true intentions.
    He maintains strong business ties with the West.
    He provided jet fuel to the United States as part of its military operation in Afghanistan following 9/11.
    His supporters said that his arrest on charges of embezzlement was part of Islam Karimov’s policy of rooting out dissent in Uzbekistan.
    He endured numerous types of torture while in prison, including spending 13 months in a super tiny cell.
    His health condition was bad when he was released from jail, where he spent four years (November 7, 2009).
    He has no connections to Islamic groups, making it easier for him to gain support from Uzbeks who want Uzbekistan to remain a secular state.

Credit: Big Lenny

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