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ADDED ON: 05/06/2021

Uzbek Blogger Bazarov Under House Arrest Facing Libel Charges

05/06/2021 | The Diplomat

A month after suffering a brutal beating for championing LGBT rights, Uzbek blogger Miraziz Bazarov was released from the hospital on April 29. He was, according to his lawyer, immediately taken by local authorities to the Tashkent City Main Directorate of Interior Affairs and interrogated. He was then sent home on house arrest and ordered not to communicate with anyone. His current predicament, officially, isn’t related to his LGBT activism. Instead, he’s facing charges over a video posted in October 2020. Various human rights organizations, such as IPHR and Human Rights Watch, have called on the Uzbek authorities to protect Bazarov’s right to freedom of expression and stop efforts to prosecute him. A criminal case was opened in late April against Bazarov after complaints from 28 citizens and a group of teachers at Tashkent school No. 110, according to the Tashkent City Police Department. The charge is “libel via mass media for selfish or other base motives” under Article 139 of the Uzbek Criminal Code, which carries a sentence of up to three years of “restricted liberty” if he’s convicted.

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