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Uzbek Parliament Restricts Activists' Access To Trials

Uzbekistan's parliament has amended the country's Criminal Code to deprive activists the right to participate in trials as public defenders.

According to new amendments to Article 49 of the Uzbek Criminal Code, only those with advanced degrees and licences from the Uzbek Justice Ministry can participate in trials as defense attorneys. Relatives and friend of defendants can participate in trials only alongside officially sanctioned lawyers.

Rights groups in Uzbekistan are the only source for information about illegal arrests and unfair trials. Activists say the change has been made to the Criminal Code with the aim of keeping them out of courtrooms in an effort to hide the scale of human rights violations in the country.