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Uzbek Rights Group Says Torture Increasing

Tashkent, 6 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- An Uzbek rights activist today said that state-sponsored torture is increasing in Uzbekistan.

Talib Yakubov, who heads the Uzbek Human Rights Society, says that torture is widely used by police and in prisons. He said, "Torture is a now a part of the nation's political policy," and blamed Uzbek President Islam Karimov for what he described as Uzbekistan's "torture structure."

International rights groups have consistently charged that torture is widely used by authorities in Uzbekistan.

The United Nations' special rapporteur on torture issued a report in April 2002 after visiting Uzbekistan, charging that abuse of prisoners in the republic was "systematic."