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One of the persecuted Uzbek journalists, Dilmurod Sayyid, whose wife and 6-year-old daughter died in an auto accident while traveling to visit him in prison in November 2009
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has voiced alarm over the treatment of journalists in Uzbekistan.

The OSCE's freedom of the media representative, Dunja Mijatovic, said in a statement that she is "alarmed by the unrelenting judicial pressure exerted upon independent journalists in Uzbekistan."

Writing to the Uzbek foreign minister, Vladimir Norov, Mijatovic expressed concern for two journalists, Abdumalik Boboyev and Vladimir Berezovski, prosecuted for alleged libel.

Mijatovic also expressed concern about three other journalists -- Dilmurod Saiid, Solijon Abdurahmanov, and Hairullo Khamidov -- who are currently serving jail sentences of between six and 12 1/2 years.

In her letter to the Uzbek foreign minister, Mijatovic wrote that "non state-media in Uzbekistan continue to be the target of unrelenting judicial harassment and this is a matter of serious concern to me."

-- RFE/RL Central Newsroom
Emin Milli (left) and Adnan Hajizada
Relatives of two Azerbaijani bloggers jailed in a case condemned by rights groups have appealed to U.S. President Barack Obama to press for their release during talks with Azerbaijan's leader Ilham Aliyev.

The families of Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli, jailed last year, issued an open letter to Obama asking him to raise the case during talks with Aliyev scheduled for September 24 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

In their appeal, the families called on Obama to come "to the defense of free speech and fairness."

Hajizada, a video blogger and member of the opposition OL! movement, and activist and blogger Milli, were jailed in November 2009 for 24 and 30 months for hooliganism after an alleged brawl in a cafe.

Their supporters say they were victims of an unprovoked attack, imprisoned as a warning to other activists after posting a satirical swipe at the authorities in which Hajizada held a fake news conference dressed as a donkey.

Rights groups say the charges were fabricated and the trial flawed.

with Reuters reporting

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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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