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Uzbekistan Cracking Down On Dissent

Uzbekistan -- The billboard reads "Constitution - symbol of freedom", in the city of Navoi, 07Dec2009
A U.S. rights watchdog says Uzbekistan has intensified attacks against rights activists ahead of this week's parliamentary election.

Freedom House said it was "deeply troubled by an intensified crackdown on human rights defenders in Uzbekistan."

The Washington-based group also accused Uzbekistan of not making "any credible efforts to reverse its brutal and sustained repression of civil society."

Freedom House pointed out while freeing opposition politician Sanjar Umarov from jail last month, Uzbekistan at the same time is locking up other dissidents.

The charges by Freedom House echo those leveled by Human Rights Watch.

Sunday's election is certain to hand Karimov's allies all seats in the lower house in a country that has no officially registered opposition parties.

Candidates from four parties and one environmental movement, all publicly supporting Karimov, are running for 150 seats.

compiled from agency reports