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News Alliance Decries Jailing Of Uzbek Journalist

Uzbek journalist Ulugbek Khaidarov (right) with Jamshid Karimov, another jailed journalist, and the Swedish journalist Elin Jonsson (Courtesy Photo) October 17, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and its parent group have written to Uzbek President Islam Karimov to express concern over the recent jailing of an independent reporter.

In a letter dated October 13, the World Editors Forum (WEF) and WAN urge Karimov to ensure that Ulugbek Khaidarov is immediately released from prison and cleared of all charges.

WAN and WEF say the jailing of Khaidarov "is a clear breach of his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions."

An Uzbek court on October 5 sentenced Khaidarov to six years in jail on extortion charges his relatives say are fabricated.

Another independent reporter from the same central Uzbek city of Jizzakh, Jamshid Karimov, has been missing since September 14. Relatives say Jamshid Karimov, who is President Karimov's nephew, was secretly arrested and sent to a psychiatric hospital.