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Uzbek Rights Activist Remains In Jail, Even After Prison Term Ends

NAVOIY, Uzbekistan -- A well-known Uzbek human rights defender remains in jail, two weeks after his prison term ended.

Relatives of Ghanikhon Mamatkhonov told RFE/RL on March 23 that authorities in the penal colony in Uzbekistan's central city of Navoiy told them that Mamatkhonov remains in custody for violating the penitentiary’s internal regulations.

Correspondents say such explanations are often used by authorities to keep political inmates incarcerated even after their prison terms have expired.

Mamatkhonov, 61, emerged as a well-known defender of human rights in Uzbekistan in recent years.

He was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to five years in jail on charges of bribery and fraud.

His prison term was later cut to four years and five months. He was expected to be released from jail on March 10.

His supporters say the charges were politically motivated.

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

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