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Uzbek Oppositionists Arrested, Cleric's Son Missing

Observers accuse Uzbek President Islam Karimov of repression 18 May 2004 -- A senior Uzbek opposition figure said today that security forces in the country have arrested four opposition activists in the last week.

Atanazar Aripov, of the opposition party Erk, said that Gulomzhon Kholmatov, the leader of the party's branch in the eastern Namangan region, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of illegal opium poppy cultivation.

Aripov said two other Erk activists were arrested in the Bukhara and Sukhandarya provinces in the last few days.

Also arrested was Mukhammadali Koraboev of the opposition Birlik movement. Kuraboev's lawyer, Rukhiddin Kamilov, said the charges against Kuraboev were hooliganism.

Meanwhile, Husniddin Nazarov, the son of opposition cleric Obidkhon Nazarov, has been reported missing.

Husniddin's mother, Munira Nasriddinova, said her son left home yesterday evening to go visit a friend and did not return. Nasriddinova said she contacted security officials about the disappearance but they could not offer any information about her son's whereabouts.


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