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Uzbek Activist Urlaeva Held In Psychiatric Ward

  • RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

Elena Urlaeva has been monitoring the use of child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry for many years.

A leading Uzbek human rights campaigner has released a video from a Tashkent psychiatric facility in which she describes being abducted by police and hospitalized against her will.

Activist Elena Ulaeva, head of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, made the video on March 3, describing her abduction two days earlier.

She said the police detained her in order to prevent her scheduled meeting with representatives of the World Bank on March 2 in which she planned to discuss the problem of human trafficking in Uzbekistan.

She charged that police beat her and insulted her before leaving her in the hospital.

A police officer told RFE/RL that no one used physical force on Ulaeva.

Ulaeva, 56, has been monitoring the use of child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry for many years, in addition to monitoring numerous other human rights issues.

She has been forcibly placed in psychiatric treatment repeatedly in the past, most recently she was held for three month beginning in March 2016.

Earlier this year, the International Organization for Labor reported that about one-third of Uzbekistan's 2.8 million cotton-pickers were "nonvoluntary" laborers.

With reporting by Reuters
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