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Relatives Concerned About Jailed Uzbek Journalist

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, September 26, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Relatives of jailed Uzbek journalist Ulugbek Khaidarov say they are concerned about his health.

Nortoji Khaidarova told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today that family members who visited her brother in prison thought his speech and behavior were strange.

Khaidarova said Khaidarov's wife Munira was the last relative to see him, on September 23

"They hardly gave her [Munira] five minutes," Khaidarova said. "They kept rushing her. She told us she found [Ulugbek] in bad shape. She says he didn't seem to be in his right mind. His eyes were unfocused. His mouth was twisted. He's lost a great deal of weight. He didn't seem to know what he was saying. He kept repeating: 'I know nothing, I know nothing,' and 'everything's alright, everything's alright.'"

Khaidarov was arrested on September 14 in the central city of Jizzakh on corruption charges.

Relatives say he was framed by the Uzbek secret police, who brought new charges after his arrest.

One of Khaidarov's colleagues, Jamshid Karimov, disappeared on September 12 in Jizzakh. Family members believe he was arrested, too.

Jamshid Karimov is Uzbek President Islam Karimov's nephew. He has been working as an independent journalist for years and has been overtly critical of his uncle.