[JURIST] In a statement issued Monday, Uzbek opposition group Sunshine Uzbekistan [party website] called on authorities to hold open proceedings [statement, in Russian] when opposition leader, Sanjar Umarov [official profile] goes on trial. Umarov, a business man with ties to the United States, was arrested in October [JURIST report] and faces charges of embezzlement, hiding foreign currency, tax avoidance, bribery, and other economic crimes. The government claims that Umarov and his brothers headed a criminal group which damaged the country's economy. Nodira Hidoyatova, another Sunshine Uzbekistan coordinator also faces trial on similar charges. The United States and Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] have both criticized Umarov's arrest [JURIST report], saying that it was politically motivated. Sunshine Uzbekistan focuses on increasing Western investments and free market reforms. The coalition became popular after an uprising of violence in Andijan [JURIST news archive] last May where the group and other rights activists demanded economic reform and dismissal of the Uzbek government. AFP has more.