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Rights Activist Released From Uzbek Custody

(RFE/RL) September 11, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- An Uzbek rights activist was released from jail on September 10 after paying a fine of about $3,650, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

Tursunbay Utemuradov, who heads a branch of the independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan in the country's Karakalpakstan autonomous region, was detained on July 5.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of eight years in prison for resisting arrest, interfering with the investigation, and forging documents. Utamuradov rejects the charges.

Utemuradov's lawyer, Agzam Turgunov, who also chairs a human rights organization, said that the trial appeared to be politically motivated, and that Utemuradov was arrested because he stood in the way of corrupt police seeking economic gain.

(with material from agency reports)

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RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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