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Severely Beaten Uzbek Blogger Under House Arrest After Release From Hospital

Uzbek blogger Miraziz Bazarov (file photo)
Uzbek blogger Miraziz Bazarov (file photo)

TASHKENT -- Uzbek blogger and rights activist Miraziz Bazarov, who was severely beaten by unknown attackers in March, has been put under house arrest after being released from the hospital.

Bazarov's lawyer, Sergei Mayorov, told RFE/RL that his client was immediately taken to the Tashkent City Main Directorate of Interior Affairs after he was released from hospital on April 29.

According to Mayorov, Bazarov is under house arrest on charges of libel and public insult. The case against Bazarov was launched last week after teachers at Tashkent school No. 110 filed a lawsuit against him over a video placed by the blogger on the Internet last October.

"In the video, Bazarov says 'school is a place where slaves and losers teach children to become slaves and losers' and that became the basis of the lawsuit," Mayorov said.

Representatives from the school's administration were not available for immediate comment.

The school was renovated by a well-known Russian tycoon of Uzbek origin, Alisher Usmanov. Earlier in April, it was at the center of a scandal after Shahnoza Soatova, an adviser to the justice minister, said that the school administration measured the height of students' socks as part of the "struggle against LGBT ideas."

Uzbek Rights Campaigner And Government Critic Severely Beaten
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Bazarov. 29, was hospitalized in late March after he was severely attacked by unknown men hours after a public event he organized was disrupted by dozens of aggressive men in the Uzbek capital.

Bazarov is known for his criticism of the Uzbek government on his Telegram channel.

Among other issues, Bazarov has also publicly urged the government to decriminalize same-sex sexual conduct, which is still legally considered a crime in Uzbekistan.

Bazarov has openly said he is not an LGBT activist, but believes that being gay is a personal issue and therefore there should be no laws against it.

Bazarov has also criticized President Shavkat Mirziyoev for insufficient anti-corruption efforts, and has questioned the efficiency of ongoing restrictions to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Last summer, Bazarov was questioned by State Security Service investigators after he called on the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank on Facebook not to provide loans to Uzbekistan without strict control over how the funds are used.

Bazarov had told RFE/RL that he had received many online threats before the attack. He said had informed the police of this, but law enforcement did not take any action.

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

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