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Uzbek Rights Activist Sentenced To Jail

October 10, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Reports say a court in the southwestern Uzbek city of Qarshi has sentenced rights activist Yodgor Turlibekov to 3 1/2 years in prison for extortion.

The independent information website quotes a court spokesperson as saying the sentence was handed down on October 6. says the trial lasted three days.

In a statement posted on another independent information website, Tashkent-based rights campaigner Surat Ikramov said it was unclear when the verdict was reached.

In a statement posted on the independent "Muslim Uzbekistan" website, Ikramov says Turlibekov was sentenced behind closed doors and that his lawyer was not notified of the start of the trial.

The 70-year-old Turlibekov was arrested in Qarshi on June 16 and charged with having defamed President Islam Karimov.

Those accusations were eventually dropped and replaced with new ones that Ikramov has described as fabricated.

Uzbek authorities have long refused to confirm that Turlibekov was under arrest, saying he was "invited" to a police station for a "conversation."