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Uzbek Cotton-Picking Claims Eighth Victim

Cotton pickers in Uzbekistan (file photo)
Cotton pickers in Uzbekistan (file photo)
A student has died in Uzbekistan's northwestern province of Khorezm during mandatory cotton picking.

Sixteen-year-old Erkaboi Yuldoshev, who reportedly had a preexisting heart condition, died on his bed in a barracks after he had picked the required daily norm of 20 kilograms of cotton. An official in Urgench district said Yuldoshev died of a heart attack on October 21.

It's the eighth death to have occurred at mandatory cotton-picking sites in Uzbekistan in the last several weeks from a variety of causes, including suicide, electrocution, and a fatal stabbing.

Uzbek authorities have been criticized for years for forcing children to work against their will in the cotton fields. In recent years, not only children but teachers, actors, doctors, and athletes have been under pressure to pick cotton, one of Uzbekistan's biggest exports.

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