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Jailed Uzbek Rights Activist Claims Torture, Fears For Life

Tojiboeva's letter (RFE/RL) August 3, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A human-rights activist, Mutabar Tojiboeva, has sent a letter from an Uzbek jail expressing fear and asking for help, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

Vasila Inoyatova, a Tashkent-based human-rights activist, told RFE/RL today that Tojiboeva expressed fears for her life in the letter sent through a prison guard on August 2.

"Tojiboeva wrote she would be killed and asked for help," says Inoyatova.

In the letter, which RFE/RL has acquired a copy of, Tojiboeva also named the prison guards who tortured her.

Tojiboeva, who headed the unregistered Otyuraklar (Fierce Hearts) human-rights group in the eastern Uzbek city of Margilon, was also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

The Dublin-based Front Line, an organization that helps human-rights defenders around the world, has expressed "grave concern" over Tojiboeva’s detention and reproted deteriorating health.

The activist was detained in October 2005, just ahead of a human-rights conference she was scheduled to attend in Dublin.

Tojiboeva was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison in March 2006.

She has been held in a solitary confinement in a prison near Tashkent and reportedly denied medical care despite deteriorating health. Her family has not been allowed to visit her since January.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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