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Uzbek Opposition Activist Goes on Trial in Tashkent

The trial of an Uzbek opposition member has begun in Tashkent, the latest in what critics say is part of a crackdown on political dissent.

Nodira Khidoyatova, who is with the Sunshine Coalition opposition group, was arrested in December and charged with economic crimes. Her husband was killed that same month in an attack she said was linked to her political activities.

Nodira's sister, Nigara, attended Wednesday's trial and said her sibling asked that her trial remain closed and refused a defense lawyer.

The opposition Sunshine Coalition has denounced the events last year in the city of Andijan. Witnesses and human rights groups say hundreds of people were killed in a government crackdown during protests. Uzbek authorities blame the violence on Islamic militants and say 187 people died in the unrest.

Another Sunshine member, Sanjar Umarov, also was arrested last year and charged with economic crimes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.