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Uzbekistan Releases Another Activist, But Is Optimism Misplaced?

Authorities in Uzbekistan have released a third jailed human rights activist in the space of a few weeks, seemingly signaling a new direction for political liberalization. Optimism should be tempered, however, in view of other more ominous developments. 

Ganihon Mamatkhanov, 67, was arrested in October 2009 and later sentenced to five years in prison on charges of fraud and taking bribes. His colleagues roundly criticized the case.

“Monitoring of the trial by independent observers found that the court had failed to provide evidence that Mamatkhanov had taken any bribes,” Umida Niyazov, head of the Uzbek German Human Rights Forum, told EurasiaNet.org.

In a maneuver typical of the Uzbek authorities, Mamatkhanov had his sentence extended for allegedly “declining to obey the orders of [prison] authorities.” He had been due for release on June 4, 2016, but again had his sentence extended.

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Uzbekistan Releases Another Activist, But Is Optimism Misplaced?

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