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Uzbek Journalist Detained, Fined On Andijon Anniversary


Nosir Zokirov, former correspondent for RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, pictured in 2005

Nosir Zokirov, former correspondent for RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, pictured in 2005

Journalist Nosir Zokirov, a former correspondent for RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, was fined today after being held by authorities for two days, accused of "violating public order."

In May 2005, Zokirov was the first journalist to report on the events in Andijon, where troops loyal to Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov opened fire on a crowd of protestors, killing around 700 people, including women and children.

"It's no coincidence that Zokirov is being harrassed by Uzbek authorities on the third anniversary of Andijon," RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin said in a statement. "It's clear that this week's arrest is baseless and simply the latest attempt by the Karimov government to intimidate those who seek to bring uncensored information to the people of Uzbekistan."

In 2005, after his reports about Andijon, Zokirov was arrested by the Uzbek government and spent six months in prison. Since then, he has been repeatedly harrassed by police, and Zokirov claims he is under regular police surveillance.

On May 10, authorities lured Zokirov to a police station in Namangan by arresting his son on specious charges that were dropped the same day. His son was released, but Zokirov was arrested and spent two days in jail before being released and forced to pay a fine.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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