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Bobomurod Razzoqov
A jailed 61-year-old Uzbek rights activist has been denied his freedom, despite a recently passed amnesty law.

A court in Uzbekistan's southwestern Bukhara region on December 27 upheld a decision by the General Directorate for Penitentiaries that the amnesty not be applied to Bobomurod Razzoqov.

A representative for the Ezgulik (Compassion) human rights group, Abdurakhmon Tashanov, told RFE/RL that the amnesty for Razzoqov was denied due to alleged violations of penitentiary regulations.

An amnesty adopted this month stipulated that inmates 60 years of age or older were eligible for early release.

Razzoqov, the chairman of Ezgulik's Bukhara branch, was sentenced to four years in jail in September on charges of human trafficking.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement in September calling the charges against Razzoqov "retaliation" by Uzbek authorities for his human rights work.

-- RFE/RL's Uzbek Service
A trial begins on December 27 in Kazakhstan of a man suspected of beating and robbing a journalist in the northwestern city of Aqtobe.

The journalist died later in hospital.

Mirbolat Sultanov was apprehended in August, two days after a correspondent for the independent "Svoboda Slova" (Freedom of Speech) newspaper, Igor Larra, was severely beaten by several men.

Larra died in hospital in October of complications from gallbladder surgery.

His wife insists his death was directly linked to his beating.

Larra's relatives and colleagues say they believe the attack was connected to his professional activities.

Police say the incident was a robbery, adding that Larra was intoxicated at the time of the incident.

Human Rights Watch urged Kazakh officials in August to thoroughly investigate the incident.

-- RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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