Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Uzbek journalist jailed for 12 years

Posted by Info on 31/07/2009

An opposition journalist Dilmurod Sayid was sentenced in Toylok district court in SamarkandUzbekistan  to 12 years in prison on blackmailing and forgery charges.

Abdurahmon Tashanov, a leader of the Ezgulik rights group said:”The sentencing of  province occurred today without the notification of his relatives and defense lawyer. The court official justified the closed session with security concerns.”

Earlier Sayid described the case against him as retaliation by local authorities and law-enforcement agencies, whose activity he had been criticizing for several years in local and online media outlets.

Sayid was arrested on Feb. 22 on suspicion of extorting money from an employee of an agricultural machinery firm in Samarkand region of Uzbekistan.Later the authorities added the additional charges of blackmailing the head of a collective farm and falsifying documents, according to Tashanov, who has been monitoring the trial.

Sayyid had been defending the interests of local farmers during the restructuring of the Uzbek agricultural sector and had a history of disputes with the authorities.

The journalist had been tried several times and had already served two previous jail sentences, totaling two-and-a-half years.He caused a stir in 2005 by publishing an article in the weekly newspaper Advokat that challenged official claims on the standard of living of Uzbekistan’s population.

After publication of the article, titledEssay on Nonexistent Things,” Sayid was sacked from his position and the newspaper was closed.

Uzbekistan is the leading jailer of journalists in Eurasia. The Government of Islam Karimov has shown an unrelenting hostility toward any independent reporting and illustrated it once again by these most recent arrests.”

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