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Rights Groups Applaud Uzbek Activist's Release


http://gdb.rferl.org/553EFA04-673A-40A7-BD53-801F7AB9AD04_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/553EFA04-673A-40A7-BD53-801F7AB9AD04_mw800_mh600.jpg Journalist and human rights activist Umida Niyazova (Courtesy Photo) May 9, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- International human rights groups have expressed relief following the release from jail of Uzbek journalist and rights activist Umida Niyazova.


Her seven-year prison sentence, handed down last week, was commuted on May 8 to a three-year suspended sentence.


Niyazova had been charged with illegal border crossing, smuggling, and fostering unrest with the help of foreign funding. The sentence was lightened after Niyazova pled guilty and condemned her former employer.


Freedom House said Niyazova's detention was solely due to her work.


Human Rights Watch says at least 14 other rights defenders remain in custody in Uzbekistan on politically motivated charges.


Press Under Assault

(AFP)

BREAKING THE NEWS: Press freedom is under assault in virtually all of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Independent media confront enormous challenges in providing citizens with the independent information that can help advance democratic reforms. On May 2, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable briefing that gave an overview of media developments in the CIS and discussed the connections between press freedom and future democratization. The briefing featured Freedom House Director of Studies CHRISTOPHER WALKER, American University Associate Research Professor ROBERT ORTTUNG, and RFE/RL Central Asia analyst DANIEL KIMMAGE.


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Listen to the entire briefing (about 90 minutes):
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RFE/RL's Press Freedom Day stories:

Iraq: Covering The Most Dangerous Beat On Earth

Afghanistan: Women In Journalism Battle Restrictions, Threats

Iran: State Maintains Tight Control Over Information

CIS: Press Freedom In Former Soviet Union Under Assault

Central Asia: Bureaucratic Obstacles Hinder Journalists

Central Asia: Governments Wary Of Independent Media

Central Asia: Journalists Still Face Harassment, Threats

THE COMPLETE STORY: To view an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of media-related stories, click here.



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