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Uzbek Mayor's Death Raises Suspicion

The death of a mayor in southern Uzbekistan who apparently committed suicide is being investigated as a possible murder, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Kitob Mayor Lukman Gafforov was found hanged in his office on August 13. Kitob is in Qashqadaryo Province.

Police are trying to determine if Gafforov's death was a suicide or if he was killed.

Independent journalist Abrahmon Tashanov said some people say he had been suspected of embezzlement and abuse of power and that led him to commit suicide.

But a source in the mayor's office told RFE/RL that investigators are not convinced he killed himself.

One person, who wished to remain anonymous, told RFE/RL that the mayor had been blackmailed by police officers who threatened to release a video of the mayor allegedly cavorting with prostitutes.

There are reports that several police have been arrested since Gafforov was found dead.