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Activist's Arrest Sparks Protest In Uzbekistan

About 150 people in northeastern Uzbekistan have held a rally to protest the arrest of a local activist, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Protester Olim Hasanov told RFE/RL that the people gathered in front of the municipal council building in Parkent, in Tashkent Oblast.

He said that Azamat Yakubov, the chairman of Parkent's community committee, planned to lay a gas mainline in his neighborhood. But the prosecutor's office accused him of embezzling some 5 million soms ($2,500) of the 10 million soms that his neighbors had contributed toward the cost of the project and ordered his arrest on March 10.

Another participant in the demonstration, who asked to remain anonymous, told RFE/RL that Yakubov was arrested because of his human rights activities.

He added that town prosecutor Abdugani Nabiev, who met with the protesters earlier today, told them that if they do not end the picket they will be taken to jail.