The European Union has ditched most of its sanctions against Uzbekistan after what it claims were improvements in the authoritarian state's human rights record.
A visa and travel ban on eight senior officials in President Islam Karimov's administration been lifted but a separate arms embargo will remain in place for at least another year.
The October 13 decision came just days after a court in Nukus in western Uzbekistan sentenced RFE/RL journalist Solozhon Abdurakhmanov to 10-years imprisonment on narcotics trafficking charges. His lawyer and international organizations say the charges were trumped up. The EU imposed the visa and arms restrictions on Uzbekistan in response to the killing of civilian demonstrators in the Ferghana Valley town of Andijan in May 2005.
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Deirdre Tynan is a freelance journalist who specializes in Central Asian affairs.