TASHKENT — Uzbek President Islam Karimov has confirmed changes to the country's criminal code that make it punishable by up to seven years in jail to undergo training with the aim of carrying out a terrorist act, local media reported.
Under the changes it will also be a crime not to inform the authorities about preparations for a terrorist attack, according to local media reports.
Terrorist training is defined under the changes as acquiring practical knowledge to commit a crime with firearms, explosive-making equipment, explosives or poison, Uzbek state-run news site Gazeta.uz reported Tuesday.
A crucial stepping stone on the transit routes to supply NATO-led forces fighting in Afghanistan, mainly-Muslim Uzbekistan is ranked by human rights groups as one of the region's most repressive states.
Like neighboring Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan is battling the spread of Islamic militancy, which is expected to become a more significant threat as NATO forces finish pulling out of Afghanistan later this year.
The Uzbek regime, however, has also dismissed protesters as Islamist extremists, most notoriously during a bloody crackdown reportedly killing hundreds against a 2005 uprising in the city of Andizhan.