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01.05.2007

Uzbek journalist Umida Niyazova sentenced to 7 years

   

The court in Tashkent found her guilty of “illegal border crossing”, “smuggling of subversive literature” and provocation using foreign funding .

The independent journalist who admitted to having crossed the border into Uzbekistan from Kyrgystan illegally denied all the other charges.  She has 10 days in which to lodge an appeal.

The trial began in the middle of April, and this was the third hearing into the case.

Human rights groups are convinced that the charges are politically motivated. 

Niyazova, 32 and a single mother is an independent journalist and human rights researcher.  She was first detained on 21 December 2006 by Tashkent airport police when she arrived from a trip to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Police confiscated her passport and laptop computer, before releasing her the same day.

Niyazova returned to Bishkek after the incident, where she sought asylum through the UNHCR. Following advice from her lawyer Abror Yusupov, who assured her that authorities had not found anti-constitutional materials on her computer, Niyazova returned to Uzbekistan on 22 January 22 this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists which has followed the case and, together with other human rights and journalist organizations, called for Niyazova’s release.

 

Based on information from www.radiosvoboda.org and www.cpj.org

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