Human Rights Activists of Belarus Step against Imprisonment of Umida Niyazova
Human Rights Center Viasna has applied to the president of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov with to protest against the arrest and imprisonment of the Uzbek human rights activist and journalist Umida Niyazova. The protest note was also sent to the Regular and Plenipotentiary Represenative of Uzbekistan in Belarus and the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Uzbekistan in Russia.
Umida Niyazova was detained on 22 January 2007 and accused of smuggling and fomentation of mass riot. These accusations are grounded on the fact that while filing a customs declaration at the airport of Tashkent Niyazova didn’t specify there that she had a lap-top and a flashcard which contained human rights materials. As a result, after a long preliminary investigation with the use of prohibited methods of interrogation, on 1 May the mother of 2-year-old child Umida Niyazova was sentenced to 7 years of jail.
Members of HRC Viasna consider persecution of Umida Niyazova as politically motivated and connected to her professional activity and public position. A great concern is also caused by the fact that the trial was closed.
‘We demand immediate and unconditional release of Umida Niyazova and other political prisoners and implementation by Uzbekistan undertakings in the field of human rights’, reads the Viasna statement.
As we learned soon after, other human rights organizations and journalists of Belarus have also condemned the policy of the Uzbek government on persecution of public activists.