On a baking July day in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, under-employed taxi driver Sadyrbek Kerimov, 34, stooped over a frothing irrigation channel to splash water onto his face.
“There are three things you cannot escape in this country,” he complained. “Heat, death and politics.”

Uzbekistan is planning to introduce a new form of criminal penalty that appears tailor-made to wield against Gulnara...
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