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Prominent Uzbek Human Rights Activist Detained

A photo taken by his wife shows Dilmurod Sayyid (right) being hustled into a car outside his home.
Human rights activist and journalist Dilmurod Sayyid has been taken into custody in Tashkent on suspicion of extortion, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

Sayyid is an outspoken critic of human rights violations in Uzbekistan and has been under pressure from officials since 2005, when he sharply criticized the country's rights situation in an article in the "Advokat-press" newspaper.

His wife, Barno Jumanova, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that Prosecutor's Office agents detained him at his front door as he arrived home on February 22.

Sayyid, who is reportedly being interrogated in Samarkand, has not been in touch with his family since his detention.

His lawyer said the charges are politically motivated, and several Uzbek human rights organizations have expressed concern at his arrest.

The same charges led to a 10-year prison sentence for another prominent human rights defender, Turgun Azamov, who was convicted in October and saw his sentence confirmed by a higher court in December.