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'Free Uzbekistan' Website Shut Down

August 14, 2006 -- Free Uzbekistan, a dissident website monitoring rights violations in that Central Asian republic, has been closed down.

The Tashkent-based nongovernmental website UzMetronom suggests that Free Uzbekistan's Russia-based service provider, Infobox, has stopped providing service based on a request from the Uzbek government.

It quotes Free Uzbekistan staffers as saying they will "continue to fight."

Infobox, which is headquartered in St. Petersburg, contends the website was closed over unpaid bills.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has intensified cooperation with Russia since his administration was chided by a number of Western governments over its violent crackdown on demonstrators in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005.