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VOA Freelancer In Uzbekistan Denies Slander Charges

Abdumalik Boboev

Abdumalik Boboev

An Uzbek reporter for U.S.-funded Voice of America radio has told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that slander charges brought against him are "baseless."

Abdumalik Boboev, a freelancer for VOA's Uzbek Service, is charged with slander, distributing materials that pose a threat to public order, and illegally crossing Uzbekistan's state border.

"I told them that in my reports I had covered events objectively," Boboev told RFE/RL. "They are insisting that I am guilty of these crimes. But I will try to prove these charges baseless in the trial."

VOA Uzbek Service Director Javdat Sayhan, speaking from Washington, called Boboev "a professional journalist, who covered events from Uzbekistan impartially and in accordance with journalistic ethics set by VOA."

Sayhan expressed hope that Boboev will be tried fairly and acquitted.

It appears the investigation against the journalist was launched last week and swiftly concluded to be sent to court.

The Tashkent city prosecutor's office took a written statement from Boboev in which he promised not to leave town. No date has been announced for the start of his trial.

Boboev, 41, was among several journalists summoned by the Prosecutor-General's Office last year for questioning about their "unaccredited" journalistic activities in the country.