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Uzbek Leader Gives Courts Right To Issue Warrants

9 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov has decreed that the right to authorize arrests will be transferred from prosecutors to the courts in 2008.

The decree was signed on 8 August, and published in government newspapers on 9 August. Uzbek state media says that the measure is aimed at improving the protection of citizens' constitutional rights, especially during pre-trial inquiries.

Uzbekistan's judicial system has long been criticized by international and local rights advocates, who regularly accuse authorities of arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and the use of torture to extract confessions.

Karimov last week decreed that the death penalty will be abolished in Uzbekistan, also in 2008.