Uzbekistan. According to
CountryAAH, regime critic Nadira Khidojatova from the new
opposition group Uzbekistan's Sunshine Coalition at the
beginning of the year was charged with financial crimes.
However, she had been arrested since she criticized the
government's bloody blow to the demonstrations in the city
of Andizhan the year before. According to eyewitnesses,
several hundred people were killed by security forces.
The leader of Uzbekistan's Sunshine Coalition, Sanjar
Umarov, was also brought to justice. He had been arrested
accused of, among other things, money laundering and other
financial crimes, but according to supporters, the charges
were politically motivated.
The Sunshine Coalition was largely the only opposition
group to openly criticize the events in Andizan, as other
groups were already crushed by the authorities. In a letter
to Parliament, Umarov had also demanded market economy
reforms. Both Khidojatova and Umarov had been kept in
isolation, and when a lawyer visited Umarov he found the
opposition leader naked and confused. According to
supporters, he had been detained. Khidojatova was sentenced
to ten years in prison and Umarov to fourteen years.
According to the court, Umarov's sentence would be reduced
to just over ten years. He was also fined just over eight
million dollars. According to the judgment, he was found
guilty of having led a criminal group, which was devoted to,
among other things, money laundering and tax evasion. Over
150 people had been convicted of various crimes in
connection with the Andizyan uprising at that time.
Eight young men who stood trial in March in Tashkent
testified in court that they had been tortured to confess.
They were accused of Muslim extremism, which they rejected.
At the one-year memorial in May of the Andizyan massacre,
Uzbekistan was called on by the United States to have an
international commission investigate the incident.
In November, the EU extended the sanctions imposed on
Uzbekistan following the Andizyan massacre. At the same
time, it was decided to resume low-level talks with
Uzbekistan. President Islam Karimov was reported to have
admitted that there were deficiencies in the local
government in Andizhan and that the leaders there neglected
the needs of people.