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Sentence Undermines Government Reform Claims and Free Speech

Update (July 15, 2021):  On July 15, the court of appeal of the Samarkand Regional Criminal Court upheld the earlier court ruling against Otabek Sattoriy and his six-and-a-half-year prison sentence. The court ordered the return to Sattoriy…
Otabek Sattoriy.
News

Known for Criticizing Local Authorities

(Berlin) – An outspoken blogger from Uzbekistan faces up to 10 years in prison in a dubious extortion case brought by local authorities in the country’s southeast region, Human Rights Watch said today. Plainclothes officers detained the blogger,…
Otabek Sattoriy.
News

Opportunity to Change Course on Rights

(Beirut) – Mauritania’s first presidential transition in a decade has raised hope that the new head of state, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, will ensure human rights protections for all Mauritanians, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020…
Students protesting against a discriminatory government decision limiting enrollment in public university to 24 years, hold up signs that say “education is a right for all.”
News

Death Row, then Arbitrary Detention, Now Exile

(Beirut) – Mauritania’s authorities freed a blogger on July 29, 2019, who had been held in a blasphemy case for five and-a-half years, Human Rights Watch said today. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was freed three days before the…
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed.
News

Both Wrote About Alleged Corruption Scheme

(Tunis) – Mauritanian authorities should free two bloggers arrested on March 22, 2019, and drop all charges related to their peaceful expression, Human Rights Watch said today. The bloggers, Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou,…
Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou.
News

Urgent Need for Legislative Reform

(Geneva) –Mauritanian authorities used a litany of harsh and overbroad laws on terrorism, cybercrime, apostasy, and criminal defamation to prosecute and jail human rights defenders, activists, bloggers, and political dissidents during…
People wait to cast their vote on September 1, 2018 outside a polling station in Nouakchott for the country's legislative, regional and local elections. © 2018 Ahmed Ould Mohamed Ould Elhadj/AFP/Getty Images
News

Create Commission to Address Current and Former Prisoner Rehabilitation

(Tashkent) – The Uzbek government has released more than 35 people imprisoned on politically motivated charges, including journalists, human rights defenders, and other activists since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office in September 2016,…
Human Rights Watch, local human rights activists, and former political prisoners in Uzbekistan met with members of the Uzbek government in June 2018.
News

Law Passed as Country Hosts African Human Rights Body

(Tunis) - Mauritanian authorities should reverse the recent adoption of a law on apostasy related crimes making the death penalty mandatory for “blasphemous speech” and “sacrilegious acts,” 21 national and international nongovernmental organizations said…
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed.
News
The scene outside a Tashkent courtroom where two journalists are on trial is at once festive and tragic. Uzbekistan’s embattled human rights defenders, long harassed by the late Islam Karimov’s repressive government, gathered in numbers not seen for years…
Report
Summary Uzbekistan’s second president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, assumed the presidency in September 2016, following the death of Islam Karimov – the Central Asian country’s authoritarian ruler for 27 years. Since then, the Uzbek government has sought…
News

Government Should Stop Censoring and Harassing Reporters

As a former journalist it’s always rewarding to be around reporters doing their work, remembering that thrill of what it’s like to chase a good story. I recall the pleasure of being with two particular journalists on a trip…
201710eca_uzbekistan_bekjanovmemoir
News

Despite Media Freedom Advances, Long Way to Go

(Tashkent) – Politically motivated prosecutions and censorship keep Uzbekistan’s media outlets, journalists, and other government critics self-censoring and under pressure, despite an improved landscape for open debate and critical reporting, Human…
A Facebook user in Uzbekistan uses mobile internet to access information about an ongoing trial.
Video
Politically motivated prosecutions and censorship keep Uzbekistan’s media outlets, journalists, and other government critics self-censoring and under pressure, despite an improved landscape for open debate and critical reporting. These actions undermine…
News

Small Positive Step on a Long Road to Respecting Human Rights

Today, I got a Skype message I will treasure: the government of Uzbekistan has finally released journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov after 19 long years in jail. You may never have heard of him, but by our count, Ruzimuradov, 64, was…
Yusuf Ruzimuradov in an undated photo.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Regional Leaders Should End Repressive Policies

(Berlin) – Political leaders in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan should use the window of opportunity offered by political change in their countries to improve human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. Leaders of…
People attend the opening ceremony of the new Belarussian-built potash plant in Garlyk, Turkmenistan March 31, 2017.
News

Stop Detaining Critics; Respect Independence of Media, Activists

(Brussels) – The European Union should make respect for human rights and an end to decades of repression a core component of its engagement with Central Asian countries, Human Rights Watch said today. In the past year, Central Asia has seen some…
From left to right: Mr Neven MIMICA, Member of the European Commission; Ms Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mr Erlan IDRISSOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan; Mr Erlan ABDYLDAEV