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USA protests against Uzbek rights activist's arrest
Thursday, 08 February 2007
Uznews.net – The US embassy in Uzbekistan has expressed its protest to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry against the arrest of human rights activist Umida Niyazova on 22 January. The US embassy is so far the only diplomatic mission of a democratic country to openly defend Umida Niyazova. In addition to expressing protest, Niyazova’s relatives said, embassy officials regularly telephone them and learn about Umida, her health and the course of the investigation. A European diplomat said in Tashkent that despite their sympathy with Niyazova and Western embassies’ shock by Umida Niyazova’s arrest, the USA was the only country to take action to defend her. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan’s Transport Prosecutor’s Office is continuing the investigation into Niyazova’s case on charges of “illegally crossing the border” and “smuggling”. Niyazova’s sister Shafoat said that Umida’s new lawyer Tatyana Davydova managed to see her for the first time on 7 February. Davydova told Shafoat that Umida looked well and with dignity and that she had expected to see her in a bad health. Umida Niyazova’s previous lawyer Abror Yusupov, who helped the law-enforcement agencies arrest her, distanced himself from the case, Shafoat said.