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Uzbek Rights Activists Prevented From Leaving For Seoul To Get Award

  • RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

TASHKENT – Two Uzbek human rights activists have not been allowed to travel to South Korea's capital, Seoul, to receive an international award.

Tashkent-based Shukhrat Rustamov said on February 16 that Uzbek authorities had denied "exit visas" to him and the chairwoman of the Uzbek Human Rights Defenders' Alliance, Elena Urlaeva.

Rustamov said he and Urlaeva have been invited to Seoul to receive the Tji Haksoon Justice and Peace award during a March 11 ceremony.

The Uzbek Human Rights Defenders' Alliance won the prestigious award this year.

The award includes $10,000 in prize money.

It was established by the Tji Haksoon Foundation in 1977 to commemorate Korean Bishop Tji, who campaigned for justice and peace.

Uzbek citizens are required to get an official permission to leave the country, known as exit visa.

The authorities often use the regulation to prevent citizens from leaving the country.