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Jailed Brother Of Uzbek Politician 'Just Skin And Bones'

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, October 13, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Relatives say they are increasingly concerned about Uzbek opposition activist Muhammad Bekjon, who is serving a 15-year jail sentence in the southwestern town of Kasan.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service from the United States, where she has been living in exile, Bekjon's daughter Aygul said her mother Nina was authorized to visit the prisoner recently.

She found "a very, very bad picture."

Bekjon is now "just skin and bones. His teeth, his dentures are broken, and he is unable to chew."

In comments reported today by the information website, Nina Bekjonova says her husband had contracted tuberculosis before being transferred to Kasan from a prison colony in northwestern Uzbekistan.

In a statement released on October 12, a Paris-based nongovernmental group known as Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT-France) says Bekjon is being held in solitary confinement and that his life is in danger.

Muhammad Bekjon is the brother of the exiled opposition leader Muhammad Salih.

He was arrested and tried following bomb attacks in Tashkent in February 1999, which the authorities blame on the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Salih's other two brothers, Rashid and Kamil Bekjon, were also arrested and sentenced to 12 and 10 years in jail, respectively.

Salih was sentenced to 15-and-a-half years in jail in abstentia in November 2000.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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