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Central Asian Activists Campaign To End Death Penalty

A defendant on trial in September 2005 for the violence in Andijon (file photo) (RFE/RL) PRAGUE, 13 February 2006 (RFE/RL)-- Human rights activists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have met to plan a two-year campaign to abolish the death penalty in Central Asia.

The project, which is co-financed by the European Union, will involve international experts and enjoys the backing of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF).

Brigitte Dufour of the IHF said the campaign is being launched at a time when, it is feared, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan may end their moratoria on capital punishment.

She added that the death penalty is "frequently" imposed in Uzbekistan.

The fifth post-Soviet Central Asian republic, Turkmenistan, abolished the death penalty outright in 1999.

In a statement following the 12 February meeting in Vienna, IHF said the campaign would involve the dissemination of information and national and regional meetings.