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Mutabar Tojiboeva
Prominent Uzbek human rights defender Mutabar Tajibaeva was given a human rights award by the French government in Paris today.

Tajibaeva, a former political prisoner, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that French Human Rights Secretary Rama Yade presented the award to her at the ceremony.

Tajibaeva, the leader of the Ardent Hearts Club of Uzbekistan, was detained in October 2005 after criticizing Uzbek officials for the violent police action in putting down a demonstration in the southern Uzbek city of Andijon in which hundreds of people were killed.

In May 2006, she was found guilty of several crimes and sentenced to eight years in prison. She was released earlier this year.
A media rights watchdog has identified 20 cases in which pressure was put on Azerbaijani journalists in the last six months but claims that none of the instances were properly investigated by police.

Khalid Aghaliyev, of the Media Rights Institute, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that "only three out of more than 200 cases of threats and physical attacks against journalists have been investigated since 2003."

Aghaliyev said the unpunished attacks on journalists have led to self-censorship developing among the country’s media.

Rabiyyat Aslanova, a deputy from the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party and head of the parliament's Human Rights Commission, dismissed charges that the government was not responsive to attacks against journalists.

He told RFE/RL that the "rights of all citizens, including journalists, are protected. There is a sufficient legislative base and political will for that."

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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