Uzbek rights activist on trial for Islamic propaganda

A human rights activist accused of distributing Islamic propaganda went on trial Monday, activists said, the latest in a string of trials targeting government critics in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation.

Uzbek rights activist on trial for Islamic propaganda
A human rights activist accused of distributing Islamic propaganda went on trial Monday, activists said, the latest in a string of trials targeting government critics in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation.

Umida Niyazova, 32, who was affiliated with the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and wrote for independent online publications, was arrested in January and charged with illegal border crossing and smuggling of materials allegedly supporting Akramiya, an Islamic group.

She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Journalists were not allowed to attend Niyazova's hearing but Andrea Berg, a Human Rights Watch researcher who was brought in as a witness, said several Uzbek activists, customs officers and communications experts from a government-run agency testified.

Investigators allege that documents found in Niyazova's laptop computer link her to Akramiya, a group Uzbek authorities accuse of instigating a revolt in the eastern city of Andijan two years ago.

Survivors and rights groups say government troops killed hundreds of protesters during the uprising; authorities say 187 died and blame Akramiya for fomenting the uprising.

Ostracized and isolated by the West after refusing an independent probe into Andijan, President Islam Karimov's government has cracked down on dissent, closing independent media and evicting foreign-funded aid groups.
Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2007, 09:53
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