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Uzbeks Detained After Attending Political Party Meeting


Defense lawyer Ruhiddin Komilov helped organize the meeting of the new opposition party National Interests.

Defense lawyer Ruhiddin Komilov helped organize the meeting of the new opposition party National Interests.

TASHKENT -- Uzbek police have detained and questioned some 15 people who took part in the inaugural meeting of a new political party, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Police in the Tashkent region's Parkent district took people to the local police station on November 30 and questioned them about their participation in an organizational meeting of the new National Interests party.

Prominent defense lawyer Ruhiddin Komilov and former presidential candidates Abdulla Tojiboy O'g'li and Jahongir Shosalimov organized the party gathering in the Parkent district's Navbahor neighborhood on November 27.

Komilov -- who had his license to practice law revoked after defending human rights activists, independent journalists, and political prisoners -- heads the party.

Nearly 20 people attended the meeting. Afterward some photos of the meeting were posted on Ferghana.ru and other Internet sites.

Police later detained all those who appeared in the pictures. Security officers asked them whether the meeting was held in opposition to President Islam Karimov. The detainees were also fingerprinted.

Before being released, police warned them not to discuss their detention.

Komilov said the new political party's program intends to focus mainly on social issues such as free health care, free education, and the provision of basic human rights.

Read more in Uzbek here.
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