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Uzbek Court Sentences Oppositionist To Prison


http://gdb.rferl.org/dc60c656-a7bf-4419-a30e-50d09c363f66_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/dc60c656-a7bf-4419-a30e-50d09c363f66_mw800_mh600.jpg (RFE/RL) 1 March 2006 -- A Tashkent court has sentenced Nodira Hidoyatova, a leader of a banned opposition group, to 10 years in prison for economic crimes.

Presiding Judge Zokirjon Isaev today announced the verdict that jails Hidoyatova on charges including money laundering. Prosecutors were originally demanding 12 years.

Hidoyatova is the coordinator of the opposition Sunshine Coalition. The group has criticized the Uzbek government's crackdown on an uprising in the eastern city of Andijon last year. Supporters say the charges are politically motivated.

It's the second time in recent months that Uzbek authorities have prosecuted Sunshine Coalition members. In October, the group's chairman, Sandjar Umarov, was arrested and charged with membership in a criminal group. Prosecutors have demanded 18 years in prison.

(AFP, sunshineuzbekistan.org, ferghana.ru)
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