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Uzbek Human Rights Activist Goes Missing

TASHKENT -- Colleagues say an Uzbek human rights activist whose group opposes another term for President Islam Karimov has been missing for several days.

Aliqul Sarimsoqov is a member of Uzbekistan’s Alliance of Human Rights Defense.

His colleague, Shukhrat Rustamov, told RFE/RL that Sarimsoqov has been missing since March 3 and his mobile phone has been switched off.

Sarimsoqov took part in several rallies in front of the presidential headquarters in Tashkent in recent weeks.

The Alliance of Human Rights Defense has filed a petition protesting Karimov's intention to run in a March 29 presidential election.

Karimov, 77, has ruled the nation of 29 million since 1990, the year before it gained independence in the Soviet collapse.

His government tolerates little dissent and has been accused of frequent human rights abuses.

Police oin Tashkent and Sorimsoqov's native Jizzakh province told RFE/RL that they do not have him in their custody.