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Uzbekistan: Update– Dismissal of charges against human rights defender Mr Shoukhrat Roustamov confirmed
On 7 September 2012, at 10:00 am in the Criminal Court of Tashkent, Judge Pulatova upheld Judge Berdiklichev's decision to dismiss the libel charges against human rights defender Mr Shoukhrat Roustamov.
Judge Berdiklichev initially dismissed the charges on 9 August 2012, and the Prosecutor of Almazar district of Tashkent City, Mr K Tadzhikulov, then appealed the decision.
Since January 2012, Shoukhrat Roustamov has filed several complaints regarding electoral violations in the Eshonguzar local administration in Tashkent. No action was taken to investigate these complaints and criminal charges were instead brought against the human rights defender on the basis of a libel complaint made by Kh Abdullayev, head of the Eshonguzar local administration.
Had he been found guilty, the human rights defender could have faced imprisonment of up to three years under Article 139 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
In a press release commenting on the release, the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan thanked Front Line Defenders, independent journalists, other organizations and embassies in Uzbekistan for their efforts to defend the rights of Shoukhrat Roustamov.
Front Line Defenders welcomes the court decision and calls on the Uzbek authorities to take all necessary steps to ensure that officials do not abuse their positions to unduly restrict the legitimate activities of human rights defenders.
For further information on this case, please see the Front Line Defenders urgent appeal, dated 18 July 2012: Baseless criminal charges brought against human rights defender Mr Shoukhrat Roustamov, and the subsequent update, dated 6 September 2012: Judicial harassment of human rights defender Mr Shoukhrat Roustamov continues.