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Lawyer Of Arrested BBC Reporter In Tajikistan Denied Access


Urinboy Usmonov

Urinboy Usmonov

KHUJAND -- The lawyer for BBC correspondent Urinboy Usmonov, who was arrested in Tajikistan this week for alleged ties to an extremist group, says she has been denied access to her client, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Fayziniso Vohidova, who has the legal papers for the defense of Usmonov, told RFE/RL that she spent all day waiting for an investigator to give her official permission to meet with Usmonov.
She said the investigator did not appear and his colleagues told her he is busy with other criminal cases and would not be in the office until June 20.
Vohidova said the authorities confirmed that Usmonov is accused of membership in the banned Islamic movement of Hizb ut-Tahrir. She said Usmonov's arrest warrant was signed by the court on June 15 and that he could be legally kept in detention for two months.
Investigators in the case said Usmonov has rejected the help of a lawyer and that is why the investigation made some "judicial procedures" without the presence of a lawyer for him.
Vohidova noted her conversation with Usmonov's relatives, who said when an investigator brought the detained journalist to his home to conduct a search they saw wounds on his body.
She said that if the claim by the relatives is true and that Usmonov's rejection of a lawyer was made under pressure, then it is possible that investigators are delaying for time so that Usmonov's injuries will heal.
U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Ken Gross, international right groups, and journalists rights' defenders asked Tajik authorities to investigate Usmonov's case based on international judicial norms.
Some Tajik rights activists have called for the immediate release of Usmonov.
Vohidova said investigators promised to arrange her meeting with Usmonov on June 20.
The Tajik Interior Ministry, which announced the arrest of Usmonov on June 15, did not comment on the recent developments.
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