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Probe Started Into Alleged Audio Recording Of Tashkent Mayor Threatening To 'Destroy' Journalists

Tashkent Mayor Jahongir Ortiqkhojaev (right) with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev (file photo)

Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office has started "a study" of an audio recording in which a man with a voice similar to that of Tashkent Mayor Jahongir Ortiqkhojaev threatens to "destroy" journalists and "turn them "into gays."

The prosecutor-general's office said in a statement on November 17 that the results of the study "will be made public in accordance to regulations."

At issue is the audio recording, which appeared on the Internet on November 16, where a man threatens "to destroy" unknown individuals.

The online news portal wrote on November 17 that the voice on the audio belongs to Ortiqkhojaev and was recorded in his office, where he threatened three journalists working for the media outlet.

"I can organize this in six minutes!... You can disappear from your homes without any trace and nobody will be looking for you!... So, you better work with us and help us. You help us so that we would solve any problems you might have later," the man on the audio says.

Ortiqkhojaev's office issued a statement on November 17, saying it has established a commission "to clarify and thoroughly study the issue in question."

The Uzbek Agency of Information and Mass Communications also said that it was studying the audio, while the Union of Uzbekistan's Journalists has called on law enforcement to officially assess the audio recording's content.