05/14/2021, 11.12
UZBEKISTAN
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Sentenced to 6 years for Otabek Sattori, the 'Uzbek Naval'nyj'

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The famous blogger had criticized the president's policies and the corruption of the regime. He also denounced the authorities' use of false accusations to convict other bloggers. Kidnapped in January, he was tried in March and sentenced two days ago.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Uzbek blogger Otabek Sattori (photo 1) was sentenced by the court of the Surkhandarinsk region to 6 years and 6 months of detention in regime colony. He is guilty of having posted criticism online the policies of the regime of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and of the regional governors.

The sentence was reported on May 12 by the Uzbek section of Radio Svoboda, citing the press release of the national Supreme Court. The prosecutor had asked for an 11-year sentence for Sattori. The sentence was applied to the charges of "high extortion", "offenses" and "falsehood" according to the Uzbek Penal Code.

Umidbek Davlatov, the blogger's lawyer, told reporters that he was “absolutely dissatisfied with this ruling. Everyone can plainly see it was a totally unjust sentence. We intend to appeal and continue the fight”.

Otabek Sattori has become well known for his critical interventions in the video-blog Khalk fikri (“The people’s opinion”), which available on Telegram and YouTube. In one of the speeches he had openly accused the local authorities of having "fabricated" some criminal cases against other bloggers, and had promised to continue, "despite the repressions", to raise questions about widespread corruption among public officials.

Sattori was kidnapped on January 30 from his home in Termez by some people in uniform, and only on March 11 did the trial against him begin. Many international organizations have turned to the government of Tashkent to demand the release of the "Uzbek Naval'nyj", who according to various observers was himself arrested on fictitious charges.

Gulnoza Said (photo 2), coordinator of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) for Europe and Central Asia, said that "the persecution of bloggers and civilian journalists for their reporting on corruption is a violation of their constitutional rights. Journalists in Uzbekistan must have the opportunity to do their job, without fear of being continually accused of invented facts”.

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