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Uzbek Rights Activist Released Early From Jail

Alisher Karomatov in an image from 2005
Alisher Karomatov in an image from 2005
TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan has released rights activist Alisher Karomatov from jail after he served six years of a nine-year sentence.

Karomatov, head of the Syr Darya region branch of the Uzbek Human Rights Society, was jailed in 2006 on charges of extortion after he reported on corruption in the government.

An associate, Azam Farmanov, who was sentenced at the same time, remains in prison.

Relatives of Karomatov say he has suffered from tuberculosis in recent years and is in poor health.

The Uzbek government has given no explanation for his early release.

Other Uzbek human rights activists had raised the issue of Karomatov's case in the UN Human Rights Council and it was expected to be discussed at a session of the council in Geneva later this month.

Speaking to RFE/RL, Karomatov thanked the local and international rights groups who called for his release.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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