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Uzbek Opposition Activist Jailed

(RFE/RL) March 15, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A court in eastern Uzbekistan has sentenced an opposition activist to six years in prison for financial crimes, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

Mukhamadali Karabaev, a local leader of the unregistered Birlik (Unity) movement, was jailed for extortion and fraud by a court in the town of Namangan.

The Ezgulik human rights group said these were the most "common and fashionable" articles of the Criminal Code that the regime used to target its political opponents.

Birlik members have repeatedly been targeted by Uzbekistan's law enforcement agencies.

In its annual report on human rights practices released last week, the U.S. State Department said President Islam Karimov's government arbitrarily arrests its critics, stifles independent media, and convicts peaceful Muslims on trumped-up extremism charges.

(with material from Reuters)

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