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31 May 2004 -- A panel of international experts said today that an Uzbek prisoner died from hanging himself, not by torture.
The family of Andrei Shelkovenko had alleged that torture was involved in his death in a cell at the police station in his hometown of Gazalkent, northeast of the capital Tashkent, earlier this month.
Police said he hanged himself.
Uzbek authorities agreed to allow a group of U.S. and Canadian experts to observe the Uzbek investigation and also a second autopsy on Shelkovenko's body. It was the first time international experts have been granted such access.
Michael Pollanen, a Canadian forensic pathologist, today said the examination revealed findings compatible with hanging and no other signs of major injury.
Shelkovenko's family could not be immediately reached for comment.
Uzbekistan has long been accused of human rights abuses.