JULY 18, 2005
Posted: August 2, 2005
Khalida Anarbayeva, Internews Network
Olga Narmuradova, Internews Network
Former director Anarbayeva and accountant Narmuradova went on trial July 18 at the Yakkasaroy District Court in Tashkent. They faced up to six months in prison if convicted on charges of publishing information and producing videos without a license. The U.S.-based media training and advocacy group disputed the charges.
The prosecution also called for the closure of Internews offices.
Although the trial was supposed to be open to the public, the judge ordered journalists, representatives of media and human rights organizations, and international diplomats out of the courtroom, according to Internews lawyer Fyodor Kravchenko and press reports.
Internews said it had not produced videos or information without a license; instead, the group said it trained Uzbek television stations to produce their own reports on issues such as human rights, The Associated Press reported. Uzbek authorities have a record of harassing Internews. In September 2004, ahead of parliamentary elections, a Tashkent court shut the organization for six months for such technical violations as a failure to register their logo.