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Press Rights Group Calls for Release of Uzbek Journalist

The press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Uzbekistan authorities to release an independent journalist detained last month.

Umiuda Niyazova has written articles for numerous political and human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the media watchdog Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations.

She wrote stories critical of the Uzbek government and about the deadly suppression of a protest in the town of Andizan in May of 2005.

Prosecutors charged Niyazova on January 22 with illegally crossing the border from Kyrgyzstan and with smuggling subversive literature. Each charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.

Uzbekistan has been widely criticized for cracking down on political dissidents and journalists, particularly after the Andizan protests. Human rights groups say Uzbek troops shot and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters in that demonstration.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.