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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
Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record has regretably deterioriated since its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in October 2014. Authorities cracked down on peaceful protests critical of government policies, and in mid-2016 jailed activists Maks Bokaev and…
News

New President Should Adopt Reform Agenda

(Berlin) – Kazakhstan’s new president, Kassym-Jomart Tokaev, should urgently address pressing human rights concerns as part of his mandate, Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent to the president that was released today. Tokaev was…
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev takes the oath during his inauguration ceremony in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
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

Journalists Questioned, Website Blocked

(Brussels) – Kazakhstan opened a criminal investigation of two prominent independent media outlets on March 30, 2018, for “disseminating knowingly false information,” Human Rights Watch said today. Police on April 2…
Journalists, others gather around Vadim Boreiko, journalist and regular contributor to Ratel.kz, for comment after the April 5 court hearing against Ratel.kz and chief editor Marat Asipov.
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…
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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

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
News

Barred from Journalism for 3 Years

(Berlin) – An Almaty court on September 7, 2017, convicted the editor of one of Kazakhstan’s few remaining critical newspapers in a politically motivated money laundering trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Medeu District Court barred…
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News

End Crackdown on Labor Rights

(Berlin) – A Kazakh court on May 16, 2017, sentenced a trade union leader to two years in prison on politically motivated embezzlement charges, Human Rights Watch said today. In addition, the trade unionist, Amin Yeleusinov, 55, is…
Amin Yeleusinov.
News

Release All Imprisoned Peaceful Activists

(Bishkek) – Rustam Usmanov, a peaceful political activist imprisoned arbitrarily in Uzbekistan for 19 years and brutally tortured, was finally freed on February 13, 2017, at the end of his prison term, Human Rights Watch said today. Usmanov, 69, a founder…
Rustam Usmanov.
News

Muhammad Bekjanov Released After 18 Years of Hell in Uzbekistan Prison

It feels so good to write these lines. Today, following 18 long years of hell in an Uzbekistan jail, Muhammad Bekjanov, one of the world’s longest-imprisoned journalists, is finally free. A couple of hours ago I spoke to…
Muhammad Bekjanov
News

Nongovernmental Organizations Targeted for Their Work

(Berlin) – Kazakhstan’s authorities have been abusing tax issues to harass human rights groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Two prominent human rights organizations, the International Legal Initiative Foundation and Liberty, have had tax audits, and…
A public meeting organized by rights groups in Kazakhstan on January 27, 2017.