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Uzbekistan To Reduce Sentences For Those Who Repent

Mutabar Tojiboeva
Mutabar Tojiboeva
TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov has signed an amendment to the Penal Code which cuts an offender's prison term by up to one-third in the event he/she repents, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Svetlana Ortiqova, the head of the parliament's legislatative and judiciary reform committee, told RFE/RL that the amendment was adopted to uphold the human rights and dignity of prisoners and was developed in cooperation with organizations that seek to defend prisoners' rights.

The law, which was signed by Karimov on May 18, was adopted by the Legislative Chamber in November and approved by the Senate earlier this month.

Ortiqova said a convict may have his sentence reduced under such mitigating circumstances as voluntary surrender, actively cooperating with the
investigation, sincere repentance, and the absence of aggravating circumstances.

She added that the law does not apply to persons serving life imprisonment for such crimes as terrorism or premeditated murder with maggravating circumstances.

Mutabar Tojiboeva, a human rights activist in exile who was imprisoned after the 2005 killings in Andijon, told RFE/RL that two months after she was sentenced she was invited to address an official letter of repentence to Karimov and to admit that her organization was extremist.

Tojiboeva added that following her refusal to do so, she was charged under a further article of the Penal Code that extended her prison sentence.

Ruhiddin Komilov, a former attorney in Uzbekistan, told RFE/RL that the new law provides for broad interpretation and will remain subject to decisions by the judiciary because of its ambiguity and lack of precision.