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Uzbek Blogger Critical Of Local Governor Arrested For Alleged Extortion

Otabek Sattoriy

TERMIZ, Uzbekistan -- An Uzbek blogger critical of the local government in the southern Surxondaryo region has been arrested on charges that relatives say are trumped up.

Otabek Sattoriy was charged by the Interior Ministry’s investigative department on February 1 on extortion charges.

That came days after Sattoriy was taken from his home on January 29 by plainclothes security officers, his sister Farangiz Alimova told RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service on February 2.

Alimova provided RFE/RL with security-camera footage of the moment of her brother's detainment.

Alimova cited the blogger's lawyer as saying that Sattoriy had been charged with extorting cash and a mobile phone from unnamed individuals.

According to Sattoriy's relatives, a court in Termiz ruled on February 1 to place Sattoriy in pretrial detention.

They insist the charges against the blogger are fabricated.

The 40-year-old blogger has been known as a harsh critic of the region's governor Tora Bobolov. Sattoriy's popular video blog Halq Fikiri (People's Opinion) has been streamed on his Telegram and YouTube channels for some time.

In one of his recent postings, Sattoriy openly accused the local government of launching fabricated criminal cases against bloggers and vowed to continue to raise the issue of corruption among officials despite the "crackdown."