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Uzbek Rights Activist Released From Prison

Mutabar Tojibaeva (center) celebrates after her release

Mutabar Tojibaeva (center) celebrates after her release

Uzbek human rights activist Mutabar Tojibaeva has been released from the Tashkent Women's Prison after serving almost three years of an eight-year sentence, imposed after she criticized the government's bloody response to the uprising in Andijon in May 2005.

Tojibaeva was not amnestied, however, and will continue to serve a three-year suspended sentence.

Tojibaeva, 46, told Human Rights Watch (HRW) after her release that she believes she was freed due to her declining health. She underwent cancer surgery in March.

HRW welcomed Tojibaeva's release but said her conviction should be annulled and that she should "be allowed to do her human rights work without further government persecution."

HRW says at least 11 human rights defenders are still imprisoned in Uzbekistan for politically motivated reasons.

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