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Rights Group Calls For Uzbek Journalist's Release


Bobomurod Abdullaev is known for his sports journalism and has participated in panel discussions organized by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service.

A France-based rights group has urged Uzbek authorities to release journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev, who supporters say has been held incommunicado in custody for several days.

"We call on the government of Uzbekistan to immediately release independent journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev, to respect his right to freely express his opinions without any restrictions, to have a free access to a defense of his choice, to provide him with an open trial and secure access to his lawyer and relatives," the Association of Human Rights in Central Asia said in its October 1 statement.

Abdullaev's wife, Katya Balhiboeva, told RFE/RL on September 27 that her husband was missing. On September 29, police officers searched their home.

A police official told RFE/RL on September 29 that the 44-year-old journalist was in custody on suspicion of theft. Officials have given no other details.

Prominent Tashkent-based lawyer Munojat Parpieva told RFE/RL on September 30 that Abdullaev was being held in a National Security Service (MXX) detention center.

Parpieva added that MXX did not allow her to see Abdullaev.

According to the Association of Human Rights in Central Asia, Abdullaev's wife rejected Parpieva's services for her husband under pressure from the MXX.

Abdullaev is known for his sports journalism and has participated in panel discussions organized by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service.

He was a founder of the media project Ozod Ovoz (Free Voice) and has worked as a correspondent of the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

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