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Rights Group Accuses Central Asian Governments Of Duplicity

An Andijon-related trial in Tashkent in November 2005 (RFE/RL) June 12, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights said today in its 2006 report that during the last year the governments of Central Asia increasingly used security concerns to justify repressive measures toward democratic forces, according to a copy of the report posted on the group's website.

The Vienna based organization said the worst crackdown took place in Uzbekistan in the aftermath of the bloody events in Andijon in May 2005.

It said that the few civil-society activists and foreign journalists who continued to work in Turkmenistan did so at serious risk of their own safety.

In a separate statement, the Helsinki Federation called on the authorities of the four central Asian governments that still retain the death penalty to abolish it as soon as possible to make Central Asia a death-penalty-free zone. They include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.