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Five Uzbek Women Released From Detention

Uzbek officials have released five of 30 women who were arrested on November 5 on religious extremism charges in southern Uzbekistan, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Gulshan Qorayeva, the chairwoman of a human rights organization in the southern Kashkadarya region, told RFE/RL that a total of seven different political and religious extremism charges were filed against the women, the most serious being threatening the life of the Uzbek president.

Nigora Nosirova, who was arrested and had been imprisoned in the town of Karshi along with her mother, told RFE/RL that she was released two days after being detained.

Nosirova said she was released along with four others. She said her mother is still jailed but she does not know where she is being kept.

Nosirova added that the released women are still being interrogated by officials. Mehriniso Hamdamova, 40, a teacher of a religious course for women at Karshi's Kuk Gumbaz Mosque, is also being jailed.

An official report written after Hamdamova's home was searched by police and security officers said that she was organizing illegal and secret religious meetings.

It also said that Hamdamova was establishing "jamoats" (societies) and promoting them among young people. Dilorom Iskhakova, the leader of the Uzbek branch of the unregistered movement Birdamlik, told RFE/RL that the charge of threatening the president's life has been abused by Uzbek officials since the mid-1990s.

Ishakova said the charges were first brought against men and later groups of women. She added that only children in Uzbekistan have not yet been charged with assault.