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"Darakchi's" owner, Uzbek media tycoon Firdavs Abduholiqov, has reportedly fled the country.
Uzbekistan's most popular weekly newspaper, "Darakchi" (Messenger), is under investigation for tax evasion.

The newspaper is owned by a close associate of presidential daughter Gulnara Karimova.

Some of the newspaper's journalists told RFE/RL on December 11 that they were forced to take vacations and were advised to start looking for new jobs.

Business owners say they have been informed that their ads will stop being printed in the newspaper and that their money will not be returned as the newspaper's bank accounts have been frozen.

The weekly's owner, Uzbek media tycoon Firdavs Abduholiqov, has reportedly fled the country. His current whereabouts is unknown.

Karimova announced earlier on Twitter that many of her associates had been arrested and that her media holding company was being investigated for bribe-taking.
The report refers to the practice of local authorities imposing unpaid work on the working population under a system called "subbotnik."
In a new report, the International Federation for Human Rights and the Belarusian human rights center Vyasna say forced labor and violations of workers' rights are widespread in Belarus.

They say Belarusian authorities "use every means possible to feed the country's economy to the detriment of its citizens' economic and social rights."

They also say that Belarus "forces large portions of its population to work, sometimes without pay and especially without the possibility to protest harsh or unfair conditions."

They cite media reports of students working on the construction of sports facilities for the international ice-hockey championship, of conscripts going to harvests, and of local authorities imposing unpaid work on the working population under a system called "subbotnik."

The report was presented in Minsk on December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

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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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