Uzbekistan court sentences opposition activist to ten years

Uzbekistan court sentences opposition activist to ten years

[JURIST] An Uzbek court sentenced opposition activist Nodira Khidayatova [RFE/RL report] to ten years in prison Wednesday for embezzlement and tax evasion. Khidayatova, a leading member of the Sunshine Uzbekistan Coalition (SUC) [party website], was arrested in December after returning from a news conference in Moscow during which she criticized Uzbek President Islam Karimov [BBC profile]. The SUC campaigns for the reform of the country's Soviet-style economy and supporters of Khidayatova say her arrest was politically motivated.

Khidayatova's trial is one of a series of cases that has taken place since the violent May 2005 uprising [HRW backgrounder] in Andijan [JURIST news archive]. At least 180 have been jailed on accusations of involvement in the uprising, including several members of the opposition who publicly criticized the government of President Karimov. Sunshine Uzbekistan leader Sanjar Umarov [party profile] also faces charges [JURIST report], including embezzlement, tax fraud, and bribery. Reuters has more.