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Uzbek Activists Claim 'House Arrest' During Bakiev Visit

(RFE/RL) October 3, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Rights activists in Uzbekistan have been under effective house arrest since October 2 in connection with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's visit to the country, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported, citing local reports.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service from the central city of Jizzakh, civil campaigner Bakhtiyor Khamroev said police officers surrounding his place of residence told him he and other activists would not be allowed to leave their homes until October 4, when Bakiev's visit ends.

"My house and those of other human rights activists [in Uzbekistan] are cordoned off [by police officers]," Khamroev said. "We're all under house arrest. That's very interesting. The same thing happened when [Richard] Boucher, [the assistant U.S. secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs] visited Uzbekistan [on August 10] and when the new German ambassador [Matthias Meyer] arrived in the country [in September]. But I didn't expect to find myself under house arrest during Bakiev's visit. I didn't expect that Bakiev's visit would complicate the life of rights activists."

On September 25, a Jizzakh court sentenced Khamroev's son to three years in jail on hooliganism charges.

Human rights organizations have linked the sentencing of Ikhtiyor Khamroev to his father's work.

A month earlier, on August 18, Bakhtiyor Khamroev had been assaulted by a crowd of angry women in the presence of British diplomats.

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