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Uzbek Court Upholds Five-Year Extension Of Rights Activist's Prison Term

Agzam Farmonov
Agzam Farmonov

An Uzbek court has upheld an additional five-year prison sentence for Agzam Farmonov, a long-jailed human rights activist whose 2006 extortion conviction was widely seen as politically motivated.

Defense lawyer Abdurahman Tashanov told RFE/RL on March 2 that the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan's Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakistan rejected an appeal against the five-year extension of Farmonov's prison term.

The ruling went against a trend in which courts in the tightly controlled Central Asian country have freed inmates in politically charged cases when their sentences expire, departed from the long-common practice of extending prison terms.

Farmonov, 39, was convicted and sentenced to 9 1/2 years in jail in 2006. He led a branch of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan in the eastern Sirdaryo region at the time of his arrest, which supporters say was groundless punishment for his activism.

Weeks before he was due for release in 2016, his prison term was extended by five years and 26 days for what the authorities said was "bad behavior while in custody."