An ethnic Karakalpak journalist is accused of plotting to overthrow the constitutional order following deadly unrest in the autonomous region.
Uzbekistan’s state prosecutor on Friday said it had charged a journalist with plotting to overthrow the constitutional order after 18 people died in unrest over proposals to undermine the status of an autonomous region.
Blood inside Karakalpakstan The region has seen President Shavkat Mirziyoyev return to a proposed constitutional amendment that would have removed the right to hold a referendum on secession from Uzbekistan.
Mirziyoyev claimed the unrest was planned years in advance with help from “external forces”, while critics said his government had failed to consult. the public in the region about the changes being the cause.
The arrest of ethnic Karakalpak journalist, Dauletmurat Tazhimuratov, last week is seen as contributing to a pro-autonomy demonstration of an unprecedented scale in the region’s administrative capital, Nukus, on May 1. July 1.
Facing 20 years in prison
Authorities released him to reassure protesters but he was later recaptured. The state prosecutor said Friday that he was one of two people detained on charges that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Tazhimuratov served as editor of a regional newspaper and called for protests in Karakalpakstan before his arrest, private media in Uzbekistan reported.
A statement from the state prosecutor said another arrested journalist, Lalagul Kallykhanova, was suspected of “crimes against public safety” after making and publishing a video calling for secession.
The office said it has made it a priority to “prevent torture, violence and other cruel or demeaning acts” in cases involving the unrest.
Mirziyoyev’s office alone announced on Friday the dismissal of Zaynolibiddin Nizomiddinov as chief of staff, the first high-profile dismissal since the beginning of the crisis in Karakalpakstan, where a state of emergency has been imposed.
The National Guard said more than 500 people were arrested during the unrest, some of whom have since been released.
Karakalpakstanan area of two million inhabitants, taking its name from the Karakalpak minority who, like the Uzbeks, are a majority Muslim Turkic group.
The Karakalpak language is closer to the Kazakh language spoken in neighboring Kazakhstan than the Uzbek language spoken throughout Uzbekistan, a Central Asian country of about 35 million people.