Uzbekistan has put 22 folks on trial, accusing them of “undermining constitutional order” by participating in unprecedented anti-government protests in July.
Formally, 21 folks died within the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan within the protests, sparked by a deliberate change to the structure that might have undermined the area’s proper to self-determination.
The violence in Nukus, the primary metropolis in Karakalpakstan, pressured President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to make a uncommon about-face and scrap the proposal.
Aziz Obidov, the spokesman for the Supreme Courtroom of Uzbekistan, confirmed to the AFP information company the trial began on Monday.
Writing on Telegram, Obidov mentioned “22 folks” have been within the dock, of whom 20 have been in custody, with one beneath home arrest and one out on bail.
They’re accused of a number of offences. Probably the most critical, “undermining constitutional order”, carries a 20-year jail sentence.
Journalists are authorised to cowl the trial. Nonetheless, it was introduced solely on Sunday night and takes place in Bukhara, about 600km (370 miles) from each Nukus and Tashkent, the nationwide capital.
Karakalpakstan is residence to fewer than two million folks in a nation of 35 million, however it covers greater than a 3rd of Uzbek territory.
Protests erupted in Nukus on July 1 and a pair of over a transfer to take away Karakalpakstan’s proper, beneath the structure, to carry a referendum on self-determination.
A whole bunch of individuals have been arrested.
The president accused “overseas forces” of being behind the unrest, with out additional clarification, earlier than scrapping the proposed adjustments.
Mirziyoyev got here to energy in 2016 after the loss of life of his predecessor, Islam Karimov.
He has pushed by means of important financial and social reforms, however his regime is accused by support organisations of trampling on folks’s primary rights.
In early November, Human Rights Watch mentioned the authorities “unjustifiably used deadly drive … to disperse primarily peaceable demonstrators” after verifying dozens of movies and images of the protests and victims.