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Vasila Inoyatova, head the human rights group Ezgulik
TASHKENT -- A prominent Uzbek rights activist says her son has been injured in a knife attack in the capital, Tashkent, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Vasila Inoyatova, the chairwoman of the human rights organization Ezgulik (Mercy), told RFE/RL that the incident took place on September 7 afternoon when she and her son, Jamshid Inoyatov, were driving to the Justice Ministry.

Inoyatova said another vehicle forced her car to pull over and an older man got out of the other car and began insulting her and her son. When her son replied to him, he pulled a knife and stabbed Jamshid in the hand, she said.

Inoyatova said there was a police car parked 20 meters from the incident, but no one came to help her or her son. She said her son had undergone surgery in a hospital due to the wound.

Inoyatova gave the license plate number of the attacker's car to police. She later received a phone call from police who informed her that the car had been located and the owner detained. The police asked her to come today to see if she can identify the suspect in a police line-up.

Inoyatova added that she does not exclude the possibility that the attack was planned and connected with her human rights activities. Her son also works for Ezgulik as a lawyer and accountant.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has denounced the arrest of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ten Iranian Intelligence Ministry officials raided Sotoudeh's home and office on August 28 and confiscated files and personal belongings. They also told her to appear at the prosecutor's office at Evin prison on charges of "collusion against national security" and "spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime." She was arrested when she went to the prosecutor's office on September 4.

Sotoudeh had represented a number of political prisoners who were taken into custody during the unrest that followed the disputed June 2009 presidential election.

In a September 7 statement, RSF said that "Sotoudeh has for the past year been the spokesperson of victims of injustice, of those the regime is trying to silence.... By arresting lawyers, the regime is trying to gag the last dissenting voices."

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, told Radio Farda on September 5 that he and his wife's lawyer went to Evin prison to inquire about her and were told that the order for her detention is valid indefinitely. Khandan added that he was told that he may neither visit his wife nor talk to her by telephone.

In its statement, RSF asked lawyers' organizations throughout the world to demand Sotoudeh's immediate release.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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