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BBC Journalist's Trial Begins In Tajikistan

Urunboy Usmonov (file photo)
Urunboy Usmonov (file photo)
The trial of a BBC reporter accused of associating with banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir has begun in the northern Tajik city of Khujand, RFE/RL Tajik Service reports.

Urunboy Usmonov, 59, denies the charges, saying any meetings he had with Hizb ut-Tahrir members were for purely journalistic purposes.

The reporter said he had interviewed some members of the banned group as part of his work reporting on the region, where Hizb ut-Tahrir is active.

The BBC has said it regards the accusation as completely unfounded.

Usmonov's arrest on June 13 was condemned by international media and rights advocates as a censorship attempt.

The reporter's relatives said he was beaten while in custody.

Usmonov was released on bail a month after his arrest pending the trial.

with agency reports