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Abdurasul Khudoinazarov, Recently Freed Uzbek Rights Defender, Dead At 58

Uzbek rights defender Abdurasul Khudoinazarov died on June 26 at age 58, less than one month after being released from prison.

The cause of death was not given, but Khudoinazarov had contracted tuberculosis while in prison.

He was released on May 30 for medical reasons.

Khudoinazarov was a member of Uzbekistan's Ezgulik (Compassion) human rights center, one of the few independent rights organizations still operating in Uzbekistan.

He was arrested on June 26, 2005. In January 2006, he was convicted of extortion, fraud, and forgery and sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison.

Khudoinazarov had been investigating corruption among local officials in the coal-mining town of Angren prior to his arrest.

Khudoinazarov's wife, Gulchehra Turanova, told Umida Niyazova of the Ubek-German Forum for Human Rights that her husband had complained often that he had not been given access to medical treatment while in prison.