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BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament has adopted a resolution calling for a news website to be banned, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz and Uzbek services report.
The parliament deputies said on June 17 that fergana.ru "ignites ethnic hatred" among Uzbeks and Kyrgyz and therefore should be blocked. Deputies officially recommended that the Prosecutor-General's Office take measures to try to prevent access to the website in Kyrgyzstan within three months.
The decision was based on a suggestion by the parliamentary commission on the deadly ethnic clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern Osh and Jalal-Abad regions last year.
Danill Kislov, the chief editor of the Russia-based website, told RFE/RL that Kyrgyzstan would not be the first Central Asian country to ban fergana.ru. He said Uzbek officials did the same in 2005 after the site's coverage of the massacre of protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijon by security forces.
Kyrgyz deputy Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, who has previously served as the country's ombudsman, told RFE/RL that the decision to block the site was correct. He said in order to prevent deadly ethnic clashes similar to those that took place last year -- when more than 400 people were killed -- it is necessary to block the site.
Bakir Uulu added that he recommended to parliament that two other websites in the country -- dizel.kz and parus.kz -- also be blocked as they "try to create tensions between ethnic groups in the country."
Bishkek-based journalist Akmat Alagushev told RFE/RL that the parliament's decision to pass the resolution was incorrect.
He said those kinds of decisions mean "the introduction of censorship in Kyrgyzstan." Alagushev added that it is not even technically possible to fully block a website from readers.
Media rights activist Tattu Mambetalieva told RFE/RL that in taking such action the parliament "has made a wonderful advertisement for fergana.ru."

Read more in Kyrgyz here
Read more in Uzbek here
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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"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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