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Karakalpak Activist Says Uzbek Authorities Arrested His Relatives

Uzbek activist Aman Sagidullaev, who is in self-imposed exile in Kyrgyzstan, says Uzbek authorities have arrested five of his brothers over his political activities.

Sagidullaev is the leader of "Alga, Karakalpakstan!" (Karakalpakstan, Forward!) movement that seeks independence for Uzbekistan's northwestern autonomous region of Karakalpakstan.

Steve Swerdlow of Human Rights Watch told RFE/RL on April 13 that Sagidullaev had told him about his brothers' arrest.

Sagidullaev, 49, is wanted by Tashkent for alleged economic crimes.

He says the case against him is retaliation for his political activities.

He has been residing in Kyrgyzstan since 2012.

Swerdlow said the United Nations' office in Bishkek has been informed about the situation involving Sagidullaev and his relatives.

Karakalpaks are a Turkic-speaking people of Central Asia. Their region used to be an autonomous area within Kazakhstan before becoming part of Uzbekistan in 1936.