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Uzbek President Islam Karimov
New York-based Human Rights Watch says Uzbek authorities have been increasing assaults on human rights activists ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that "anyone who tries to report on human rights in Uzbekistan clearly risks getting attacked, arrested, or worse."

The statement described a rise in attempts to intimidate activists ahead of the December 27 parliamentary and local elections, including an attack on human rights researcher Tanya Lokshina.

The statement added that key international actors, including the United States and the European Union, have grown increasingly silent in the face of Uzbek government abuses, arguing in favor of what they term "quiet diplomacy" with Tashkent.

But the statement says Uzbek authorities do not deserve any praise for human rights improvements.

Uzbekistan has been ruled for more than two decades by President Islam Karimov.
Human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis was sentenced in September
An Almaty regional court today rejected an appeal from jailed human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis for his case to be reviewed, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Zhovtis's lawyer, Vitaly Voronov, told RFE/RL that the supervisory board of the court found the original verdict was correct and refused to review the trial proceedings.

He added that the appeal to the regional court was Zhovtis's last resort because, according to the law, Zhovtis may not appeal his case to the Supreme Court because it is a minor crime.

Voronov said he is going to visit Zhovtis in prison near the northeastern city of Ust-Kamenogorsk to discuss their next steps. Voronov said they may appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee.

Zhovtis was sentenced in September to four years in prison for his role in a traffic accident in which a pedestrian was killed.

Human rights organizations say the charges against Zhovtis are politically motivated because of his professional activity as a human rights defender.

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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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