Foreign Policy Blogs

We won't hear much from Uzbekistan

We won't hear much from UzbekistanJust a six-month partial review of media and human rights issues in Uzbekistan:

March 26, 2007: reports that yet another journalist with international ties is being prosecuted in Uzbekistan.  Die Deutsche Welle journalist Natalya Bushuyeva has had criminal charges pressed for income tax evasion over the last five years.  
Ms. Bushuyeva is also being charged with representing herself as a journalist (for a non-Uzbekistani press agency) without a permit.

March 16, 2007: Umida Niyazova was detained in January for illegally crossing the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and smuggling subversive literature.  Currently, Ms. Niyazova is in pre-trial detention.  She faces a possible ten-year sentence.
Although the charges must be viewed as a pretext, it is worth noting that recent changes in Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan border arrangements (ostensibly to be less restrictive) have resulted in a bewildering array of requirements which make cross-border traffic more restrictive.

October 5, 2006: Ulugbek Khaidarov, a journalist, is sentenced to six years in prison for extortion.  It is believed his arrest was related to an article that attempted to track USD 100,000 dollars that had disappeared from government funds for Jizzakh province.  during his imprisonment, he was apparently dosed with psychotropic drugs.  He was acquitted on November 7, 2006 on appeal. 

Dzhamshid Karimov, a journalist and nephew of President Karimov, has remained in the custody of a psychiatric ward since August 2006.

We won't be listening, either:  The UN Human Rights Council has decided to stop monitoring human rights abuses for Uzbekistan under the 1503 article.   The U.S. has also cut the budget for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America broadcasting and reporting in Central Asia.

Photo: University of Cambridge