Posts Tagged ‘police action’

Uzbekistan: Journalist Sentenced to 10 Years

October 11, 2008

With Repression Continuing, EU Should Not Drop Sanctions

Human Rights Watch

(Moscow, October 11, 2008) – Uzbek authorities should immediately and unconditionally release an independent journalist sentenced on October 10 on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Solijon Abdurakhmanov, a journalist known for his critical reporting, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling drugs, an offense he did not commit.

" Abdurakhmanov’s conviction is an affront to human rights and free speech in Uzbekistan. He often criticized local authorities, including law enforcement. It is clear that he is being punished for his work. Once again, the Uzbek government is showing that it will not tolerate dissent. "
Igor Vorontsov, Uzbekistan researcher for Human Rights Watch
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“Abdurakhmanov’s conviction is an affront to human rights and free speech in Uzbekistan,” said Igor Vorontsov, Uzbekistan researcher for Human Rights Watch. “He often criticized local authorities, including law enforcement. It is clear that he is being punished for his work. Once again, the Uzbek government is showing that it will not tolerate dissent.”

On October 13 and 14, the European Union is slated to review Uzbekistan’s human rights record to determine whether to continue the sanctions regime adopted in the aftermath of the 2005 Andijan massacre, when government forces shot hundreds of protesters, most of them unarmed (http://hrw.org/reports/2008/uzbekistan0508/ ). Among the assessment criteria established by the European Union for reviewing the sanctions are for the Uzbek government to stop the harassment of civil society and to release imprisoned rights defenders and dissidents.

Police in Nukus, 1,100 kilometers west of Tashkent, arrested Abdurakhmanov on June 7 after claiming that they had found 114.18 g of marijuana and 5.89 g of opium on the underside of his car. Abdurakhmanov denies knowing about or having anything to do with the drugs and his brother, Bakhrom, a lawyer who represented him at this trial, believes that the police planted the drugs. A few days before his arrest, Abdurakhmanov left his car in a local repair shop. He told his brother that the police monitored him closely after he picked up his car and until his arrest. The investigators failed to carry out basic investigative steps, such as checking the drugs for fingerprints despite repeated requests by Abdurakhmanov and his lawyer.

Abdurakhmanov is an outspoken journalist who has written on issues that are sensitive in Uzbekistan, such as social and economic justice, human rights, corruption, and the legal status of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic of which Nukus is the capital. He worked closely with UzNews, an independent online news agency, and also did freelance work for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

Abdurakhmanov’s sentence comes just one week after a forum on the “Liberalization of the Mass Media,” co-sponsored by the EU and the Uzbek government, concluded in Tashkent. A group of independent organizations from EU member states that participated in the forum had warned that it should not be considered evidence of any improvement in Uzbekistan’s policy of suppressing free speech.

“Abdurakhmanov’s sentence is yet another blatant failure to meet the EU sanctions criteria,” said Vorontsov. “Any easing of the sanctions in the face if this travesty would be wholly unconscionable. It would send a signal that the EU stands by while Uzbekistan locks up its critics.”

Human Rights Watch urged EU governments and the United States to raise the case of Abdurakhmanov urgently with the Uzbek government and to demand his immediate release.

In the latest episode of a longstanding effort to obstruct Human Rights Watch’s work in Uzbekistan, the Uzbek government first denied work accreditation to Human Rights Watch’s researcher in Tashkent, then proceeded to outright ban him from entering the country. As a result, Human Rights Watch has been unable to maintain its presence in Uzbekistan since mid-July 2008.

In a September 29, 2008 letter to EU foreign ministers, Human Rights Watch urged the EU to uphold the sanctions against Uzbekistan and make clear they will not be lifted until all the assessment criteria have been met.

Wide protests in Kashmir Valley on Coordination Committee call

September 6, 2008
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Police quell demonstration at Geelani’s house

Srinagar, Sep 5: The call for peaceful protests after Friday prayers by the Coordination Committee evoked tremendous response across the Valley in spite of heavy rains in the afternoon.
However police used extensive force to quell peaceful processions outside the house of Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, at Hyderpora here and south Kashmir’s Islamabad district injuring dozens of persons.
The Coordination Committee, which is an amalgam of various pro-freedom parties, traders, lawyers and members of the civil society, had called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers.
Maisuma sit-in
Pro-freedom slogans rented Maisuma and its adjoining areas when hundreds of people staged a peaceful sit-in there amidst heavy rains.
After the Friday prayers a massive procession took off from Central Jamia Masjid Gaw Kadal, led by president of Jamait-e-Ahlihadis, Maulana Showkat. Hurriyat leaders Shahid-ul-Islam and Javid Ahmad Mir and Showkat Bakshi and Bashir Ahmad Bhat of JKLF participated in the sit-in at Maisuma.
The procession was joined by a large number of people, including the traders and shopkeepers of Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas. Shouting pro-freedom slogans the protesters staged a sit-in for half-an-hour at the Maisuma Chowk.
“We want freedom,” the protesters continuously shouted as the troopers of paramilitary CRPF looked on. Addressing the gathering, Maulana Showkat appealed people to maintain unity and make programmes of the Coordination Committee successful.
Talking to Greater Kashmir on the spot, Shahid-ul-Islam termed the peaceful protests across the Valley as huge success. “India cannot suppress the sentiments and aspirations of Kashmiris. The administration led by puppet Governor made all attempts to stop the Lal Chowk march. But we are determined to carry out the march soon and no power can stop it,” Shahid-ul-Islam said.

Continued . . .

Antiwar March Ends In Tense Standoff, 396 Arrests

September 6, 2008

The final night of the convention led to confrontations between police and protesters. At least 396 people were arrested, an official said this morning.

by Curt Brown, Terry Collins, Randy Furst and Heron Marquez Estrada | St Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune,  Sep 5, 2008

Police arrested scores more people Thursday night after another series of tense showdowns with protesters on the final night of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

[Police push people back after a person was arrested during a protest at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)]Police push people back after a person was arrested during a protest at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Sweeping into the State Capitol grounds in riot gear, police used snowplows, horses and dump trucks to seal off downtown from antiwar demonstrators attempting a march to the Xcel Energy Center.

“They chose not to leave when told to do so and now everyone’s paying the price,” said one officer on the scene.

This morning, the Joint Information Center said 396 people were arrested during Thursday’s demonstrations, and a total of 818 people were arrested during the four-day convention. The numbers are preliminary; an official count will be released later today, said a spokeswoman for the center, which has been providing information about arrests and security during the convention.

Most of those arrested were ticketed and released, the spokeswoman said.

Thursday night, as police blocked off bridges to stop demonstrators from getting downtown, a rolling series of sit-down protests started on the John Ireland Boulevard bridge over Interstate 94. The arrests ended with more than 200 demonstrators, squatting with their hands on their heads, taken into custody on the Marion Street bridge.

Police used tear gas and pepper spray to quell some of the unrest.

A group of more than 700 demonstrators had a permit to rally and march. But they were angry the permit expired at 5 p.m., before delegates began arriving at the Xcel Energy Center for GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s acceptance speech.

Among those arrested were two Associated Press reporters covering the event. They were issued a citation and detained, along with a KARE-11 TV photographer and more than a dozen other members of the media. All were released later in the evening.

“They’re trying to steal our protest — we have to ignore the police intimidation,” Katrina Plotz, an organizer with the Anti-War Committee, hollered from a stage in front of the Capitol steps.

But ignoring the police wasn’t easy during one of the largest shows of force on the fifth straight day of confrontations in St. Paul.


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