4. Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan – Silences Political Opponents
Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Islam Karimov has been the first and only President of Uzbekistan. Based on his track record so far, it’s pretty safe to say that his successor won’t have to do much to improve on Uzbekistan’s abysmal human rights record.
Since Karimov seized power and kept it for over two decades through obvious nefarious means, Uzbekistan has been a hub for some atrocious abuses of human rights and press freedom. Almost any human right violation you can think of (from torture, massacres, and rape to corruption, imprisonment of over ten thousand political opponents, and media censorship) has been reported under Karimov’s administration.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Karimov is leaving office anytime soon as he only recently won another five-year term with a whopping 90 per cent of the vote. Either Uzbeks really like Karimov (extremely unlikely) or there is something afoul in the election process (extremely likely).