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Uzbek Police Detain Rights Activists

(RFE/RL) November 28, 2006 -- Six activists have been detained in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, as they prepared to picket the country's Foreign Ministry building to demand more official dialogue with rights campaigners.

The website today reports that the six campaigners -- Yelena Urlaeva, Viktoria Vinogradova, Rasul Tojiboev, Valentina Talipova, Jahongir Shosalimov, and Abdullo Tojiboi -- were seeking an interview with Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov.

Police detained them as they were approaching the ministry's headquarters on November 27 and drove them to an undisclosed location.

All six had rallied in front of the ministry on November 25 to demand that authorities follow through on a pledge made in Brussels on November 8.

Norov reportedly said during talks with EU officials ahead of a sanctions debate that Uzbek authorities would hold a dialogue with rights campaigners and organizations.

The EU on November 13 expanded for six months a travel ban imposed a year ago on 12 Uzbek officials it holds responsible for a bloody military crackdown in Andijon in May 2005.

The bloc also voted to maintain an arms embargo on Uzbekistan for another year.


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