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Human Rights Group Concerned About Uzbek Activist's Arrest

29 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Vienna-based international human rights organization says it is "deeply concerned" by the arrest of an Uzbek opposition member.

The head of Uzbekistan's unregistered opposition Free Peasants party, Nigara Khidoyatova, said today party member Elena Urlaeva was arrested in Tashkent on 27 August.

Khidoyatova said Urlaeva was carrying literature about the Free Peasants party when she was detained.

In an open letter sent to Uzbekistan's prosecutor-general, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights demanded an investigation of the arrest and called for Urlaeva's release if the charges against her are found to be politically motivated.

Urlaeva's detention comes amid an upsurge in detentions among activists and journalists following an uprising in May in eastern Uzbekistan that was crushed by government troops.

(RFE/RL's Uzbek Service/AP/AFP)