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Former Judge Flees Uzbekistan, Seeks Political Asylum

(RFE/RL) October 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Former Uzbek Judge Zokir Isaev has fled to neighboring Kazakhstan and applied for refugee status with the United Nations in Almaty.

Sergei Ezhkov, a Tashkent-based independent journalist, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today that Isaev asked for political asylum in the West.

Isaev resigned from his post in July, complaining of "interference" in his work by high-level officials.

Isaev reportedly sent a letter to Uzbek President Islam Karimov in which he accused unnamed government officials of using the president's name to "destroy anyone who is in their way."

Isaev was the presiding judge in several of the trials of alleged organizers of the violence in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005, when security forces opened fire on several thousand protesters in the city's main square, killing hundreds.

The government claims that less than 200 were killed and that many of those who died were from the security forces.

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