Uzbek human rights activist and journalist Umida Niyazova has received Human Rights Watch's Courage in Journalism and Human Rights award in New York. "This is a very great award for my humble work in Uzbekistan," she said after the ceremony.
A longtime activist and contributor to RFE/RL and other news agencies, a former translator for Human Rights Watch, the 32-year-old Niyazova was arrested in January 2007 and convicted in May 2007 on what many said were politically motivated charges. At her appeal hearing, she was forced to denounce the work of Human Rights Watch and publicly confess her guilt.
She was eventually granted an amnesty, but it was understood that she would not take up her human rights or journalistic activities in Uzbekistan again. She now lives in Germany.
Next week in Geneva, another Uzbek rights activist, Mutabar Tajibaeva, will receive the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.