The European Union has learned with great concern about the harsh sentences of six respectively seven years in prison passed on 24 April and 1 May 2007 to Ms. Gulbahor Turaeva and Ms. Umida Niazova.
The EU also deplores the fact that international observers were not allowed to observe the trial despite previous requests.
Reiterating its concern about the situation of human rights defenders in Uzbekistan the EU urges the Uzbek authorities to immediately review the two cases and to fully respect the principles of due and fair trial according to Uzbekistan's commitments to international human rights standards. The EU calls on the Uzbek authorities to grant unhindered access to both women by family and lawyers.
The two sentences send a worrying signal by Uzbekistan in the perspective of a EU decision on whether to renew specific sanctions adopted in 2005 in relation to the Andijan tragedy and while Uzbekistan has agreed to hold a dialogue with the EU on human rights.