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Uzbek Authorities Accuse Activist Of Islamic Radicalism

(RFE/RL) January 30, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek rights activist and journalist Umida Niyazova is now being accused by authorities of being connected to the banned Islamic group Akromiya.

Niyazova's lawyer, Abror Yusupov, spoke to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service about the charges.

"Now [the Uzbek authorities] are starting to connect [Niyazova] and charging her with being part of Akromiya," Yusupov said. "They are charging her with under a contraband law -- Article 246, section 1 [of the criminal code]. On the computer that was confiscated from her there was information about Akromiya and interviews with family members of Akromiya supporters."

Niyazova is already in detention on charges of illegally entering Uzbekistan and possession of banned literature. Umida was detained in December when she returned from Kyrgyzstan. Her computer and some discs were confiscated at that time.

On January 29, the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement calling on Uzbek authorities to immediately release Niyazova, calling the 32-year-old activist and journalist a " victim of political persecution."

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