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RSF Concerned About Missing Journalist In Uzbekistan

Uzbek independent journalist Sergei Naumov
The Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has expressed concern over the fate of an independent journalist who has been missing in western Uzbekistan since September 21.

In a statement, RSF said journalist Sergei Naumov, who is known for his reporting about forced labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry, managed to inform friends by telephone that he had been arrested.

Naumov's friends have reportedly inquired at local police stations, the prosecutor's office, and the National Security Service without finding any trace of him.

The editor of the Ferghana News website, Daniil Kislov, said Naumov might have been arrested for his journalistic activities.

At least three students have reportedly died in recent days while participating in forced labor in Uzbek cotton fields.

The practice of forced labor has been harshly criticized by the rights community, and numerous Western retail stores have banned clothes made from Uzbek cotton.

Based on a statement