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UN rights chief cautions Uzbek government on latest Andijan trials

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official website] has again cautioned the Uzbekistan government to observe fair-trial standards after Uzbek courts sentenced another 42 people to 12-20 years in prison [JURIST report] during closed hearings Wednesday. Arbour, concerned that the latest trials may have been plagued by the same problems as previous trials [JURIST report], including inadequate counsel provided to defendants and potentially inconclusive or coerced evidence in support of the convictions, called on Uzbekistan to abide by the UN fair-trial rules [UN News report] they agreed upon when joining the organization. Uzbekistan rejected Arbour's attempt to have a monitor present for the latest proceedings. The 42 people were convicted in connection with the May Andijan uprising [JURIST news archive], where thousands of protesters gathered [JURIST report] after rebels stormed a prison and released a group of businessmen being held for trial for alleged Muslim extremism. Human rights groups allege that over 500 protesters were killed when Uzbek troops opened fire on the the crowd, though the government claims that only 187 died. AP has more.

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