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Prominent Uzbek Artist Banned From Travel

Uzbek authorities have told a prominent artist that he is prohibited from traveling abroad or leaving the Tashkent region where he lives.

The travel ban on Vyacheslav Okhunov comes as the artist has equated Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, with a monkey in his works of art.

Asked why the travel ban was handed down, Uzbek government official Nodir Ziyaev said travel restrictions were sometimes needed to prevent citizens from divulging state secrets.

But he declined to say what secrets Okhunov could have.

Okhunov, born in 1948 in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, was a dissident during Soviet times.