Saturday, June 28, 2014 7:44 pm
Tashkebt – A court in Uzbekistan on Saturday, fined an independent journalist for “spreading panic” and working without accreditation.
“The court found me guilty on two accounts: working without a license and preparing and spreading materials that contain a threat to public security and order,” the journalist, Said Abdurahimov, told AFP.
He said the fine of $4000 (2,900 euros) amounts to nearly one hundred times the annual minimum wage. He was also told to turn over his video camera.
“I will appeal the verdict,” said Abdurahimov, who writes under the pseudonym of Sid Yanyshev for Fergana.ru website, based in Russia and is often critical of Tashkent’s policies. It is blocked in Uzbekistan.
Abdurahimov made text and video reports about political issues and faced prosecution after reporting about people whose houses were demolished under the capital’s reconstruction project.
Uzbekistan’s record on human rights is described as “atrocious” by Human Rights Watch, which says torture is endemic and authorities have lately intensified their crackdown on civil society activists, opposition members, and journalists.