Monday, 25 January 2010

Umida Akhmedova vs. Uzbekistan

© Umida Akhmedova

Bizarre is the only way to describe the ongoing trial against documentary photographer Umida Akhmedova for 'insulting and libeling the Uzbek people and its traditions through her work' and could face up to three years in jail if convicted. She was commissioned by the Swiss Embassy to produce documentary work on gender issues and photographed scenes from everyday life in Uzbekistan.

She was accused after a “complex expert review” of her work revealed that “with her unscientific, unsound, and inappropriate comments, which contain hidden implications, are directed at discrediting values and traditions of our people, and hold negative information that can affect moral and psychological conditions of the youth,” she insulted “traditions of the Uzbek people, which is viewed as defamation, scornful, and disrespectful attitude towards national traditions.”

This is simply a absurd yet shocking case of shooting the messenger. Surely you cant hold a photographer accountable for the traditions and practices of the people that she comes across on her travels throughout a whole country? Her pictures are measured and poignant and full of rich historical detail for future generations. By simply observing a country she has now drawn the wrath of its government and 'defamed an entire nation'.

Sign the petition here.

A gallery of images available from CPJ here, read more here, BBC gallery here.

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