Uzbek Human Rights Defender Released

Human rights defender Saidzhakhon Zainabitdinov was released on February 4 under a presidential amnesty. He had been serving a seven-year sentence, handed down in January 2006 after what was in effect a secret trial. He was indicted for libel, “information dissemination fomenting the panic” and “terrorism.” Prior to his imprisonment, Saidzhakhon Zainabitdinov was monitoring protests in the town of Andizhan which escalated on May 12-13, 2005. During the information blockade that engulfed Uzbekistan in the aftermath of the protests, messages from Saidjahon Zainabitdinov were forwarded to the leading world news agencies, TV channels, radio stations and newspapers.