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Abdumalik Boboev
An Uzbek reporter for U.S.-funded Voice of America radio has told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that slander charges brought against him are "baseless."

Abdumalik Boboev, a freelancer for VOA's Uzbek Service, is charged with slander, distributing materials that pose a threat to public order, and illegally crossing Uzbekistan's state border.

"I told them that in my reports I had covered events objectively," Boboev told RFE/RL. "They are insisting that I am guilty of these crimes. But I will try to prove these charges baseless in the trial."

VOA Uzbek Service Director Javdat Sayhan, speaking from Washington, called Boboev "a professional journalist, who covered events from Uzbekistan impartially and in accordance with journalistic ethics set by VOA."

Sayhan expressed hope that Boboev will be tried fairly and acquitted.

It appears the investigation against the journalist was launched last week and swiftly concluded to be sent to court.

The Tashkent city prosecutor's office took a written statement from Boboev in which he promised not to leave town. No date has been announced for the start of his trial.

Boboev, 41, was among several journalists summoned by the Prosecutor-General's Office last year for questioning about their "unaccredited" journalistic activities in the country.
Lilia Shibanova: "This is all being done to complicate...our work."
Some 20 Russian human rights organizations and nongovernmental organizations have been ordered to submit various financial and internal documents to Moscow's Prosecutor-General's Office, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia's branch of Transparency International, and Voice, a group that defends voters' rights, announced on September 14 that they had been called the previous day by the Prosecutor-General's Office and asked to submit various documents to local prosecutor's offices by noon on September 14.

They said they were not told why the office needed the documents.

Voice leader Lilia Shibanova told RFE/RL she thinks the move is part of the government's preparation for the 2012 presidential election. She said that "initially they asked for financial and founding documents."

Shibanova said that as she understands the situation, the local prosecutor's office is only an intermediary and all of the documents from the organizations will be transfered to the city prosecutor's office by September 15.

"I think this is all being done to complicate not just our work, but the work of all human rights organizations," she said.

Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alekseyeva told RFE/RL that when she called the prosecutor's office to clarify why they needed these documents, she was told "the [office is] carrying out an investigation with regard to the war against terrorism and extremism."

Alekseyeva suspects the investigation concerns last week's deadly explosion at a market in Vladikavkaz.

She says she has inquired with Moscow's human rights ombudsman, Aleksandr Muzikantsky, as to the legality of this action against the organizations and how they can protect themselves against illegal searches.

Yelena Panfilova, the director of the Russian branch of Transparency International, told RFE/RL that they, too, were asked to submit a wide range of documents.

"We were shocked by the time frame with which we were supposed to submit documents," she said. "We received a fax that we must submit these documents at around 10 or 11 a.m. and told to submit the documents [the same day] by 12."

Panfilova said her organization "is physically unable to fulfill such a request."

The Moscow prosecutor-general's press office has not given a reason for the investigation.

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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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