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Uzbekistan Investigating Members Of U.S. NGO

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, August 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek authorities say they have opened a criminal case against the representatives of a U.S.-based aid group that specializes in providing assistance to farmers.

An pro-government website,, today quotes officials with the Tashkent prosecutor's office as saying Winrock International representatives are accused of conducting illegal publishing activities.

The website says officials gave no further details.

An Uzbek court on July 26 ordered the closure of the local branch of Winrock International, saying it had, among others things, sponsored the publication of a booklet that misquotes the Koran.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for Uzbekistan's government committee on religious affairs, Aziz Abidov, said the booklet -- called "Islom dini va hotin-kizlar" ("Islam and Women") -- distorts the life of the Prophet Muhammad and is not suitable for widespread circulation.