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Uzbekistan Release Laywer Of Jailed Ethnic Armenian

Uzbek authorities have released from prison the lawyer of an ethnic Armenian man convicted of Islamic extremism.

The lawyer, Olim Qobilov, was arrested in March and later convicted of bribery and extortion and sentenced to seven years in jail.

Qobilov told RFE/RL by phone on June 13 that he has been released and is currently at home.

He did not elaborate.

In February, Qobilov's client, Aramais Avakian, a 34-year-old ethnic Armenian, was sentenced to seven years in jail on Islamic extremism charges in Uzbekistan's eastern region of Jizzax.

Four other men in the case were sentenced to prison terms between 5 1/2 and 12 years.

Avakian, who was arrested in September, was the only defendant who pleaded not guilty.

Avakian's relatives say local authorities in Paxtakor district trumped up the charges against him in order to take over his fish farm.

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