Uzbekistan: Increased Concerns on the Detention of journalist Umida Niyazova, possible 15-year sentence

***UPDATE 2 May 2007*** Yesterday, 1 May 2007, Umida Niyazova was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, following an unfair trial at which the defence was reportedly given insufficient time to prepare and which was closed to the press. She has ten days in which she may appeal. English PEN considers that Niyazova has suffered this prosecution and harsh sentencing as a direct result of her reporting on human rights.


English PEN has learned that Umida Niyazova, a journalist and human rights defender held in pre-trial detention since 22 January 2007, has had a third charge levied against her for distributing anti-government material using finances from abroad. This charge carries a 15 year sentence. English PEN believes that Niyazova is being held for her reporting on human rights abuses in Uzbekistan and for her criticism of the government, in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory and which guarantees the right to freedom of expression. English PEN calls for Umida Niyazova’s immediate and unconditional release.
An alert issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists on 12 April 2007 reports that Niyazova’s health is believed to be deteriorating. Her sister reportedly visited Niyazova in Feburary, and noted that she appeared distressed and had lost weight. She is said to be subjected to sleep deprivation, allowed only 3-4 hours sleep a day, and constantly subjected to loud music.

Click here for more information on Niyazova’s case.

Click here for the bulletin issued by IFEX


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