Accessibility links

OSCE Urges Uzbekistan to Release Journalist

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is callling on Uzbekistan to free an independent journalist, who was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison on drug charges.

A statement from the OSCE says the charges against Salijon Abdurakhmanov were made up and did not stand up to "fair procedure."

Abdurakhmanov was arrested in western Uzbekistan in June and accused of drug use after police found a substance in his car. He says the drugs were planted in retaliation for his critical reporting.

Despite his imprisonment, this week the European Union dropped most of its sanctions against Uzbekistan, citing improvement in human rights.

Abdurakhmanov is a contributing journalist for Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and other outlets.

Last week, the press-freedom group, Reporters Without Borders called the Uzbek court's decision disproportionate and unfair.

EU nations imposed sanctions after Uzbekistan's bloody crackdown on protesters in 2005, when security forces opened fire on an unarmed crowd in the town of Andijan. The government says 187 people died, but human rights activists say the toll was far higher.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.