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Relatives Concerned About Jailed Uzbek Rights Activist

Scores of Uzbek activists have been jailed recently by the government of President Islam Karimov (file photo) (AFP) PRAGUE, November 20, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Relatives say they are increasingly concerned about the health of jailed Uzbek rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mutabar Tojiboeva.

Tojiboeva's sister Muharram, who is acting as her lawyer, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today that information received from other detainees at the Tashkent's women's prison suggests her health is deteriorating rapidly.

"She is in a very poor state," she said. "We've heard she was transferred to the intensive care unit [of the prison's hospital] and that she needs medication. But they would not let us see her. They would let neither her lawyer, nor her relatives visit her. Her daughter [Mahliyo] went to the prison but they turned her away. [Mutabar] is being tortured. This is what we learned from her co-detainees."

Muharram Tojiboeva said on October 24 that she had learned from prison officials that her 44-year-old sister had been put in a disciplinary cell with one of her fellow inmates.

Mahliyo Tojiboeva told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today that she just received two-month-old letters in which her mother's co-detainees said she had swollen legs and was suffering from a cold.

A rights activist from eastern Uzbekistan, Tojiboeva was arrested in October 2005 as she was preparing to attend an international conference in Dublin, Ireland.

She was tried and sentenced to eight years in prison on blackmailing charges which she denies.
(RFE/RL's Uzbek Service)

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