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Exiled Uzbek Politician Says Journalist Abdullaev Arrested For His Work

Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev (file photo)
Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev (file photo)

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Exiled Uzbek opposition leader Muhammad Solih says journalist Bobomurad Abdullaev was detained last week in Tashkent for his professional activities.

The leader of the opposition Uzbekistan’s People's Movement, Solih told reporters in Istanbul on October 3 that Abdullaev had written articles for his political group's website in the last 14 years under a pseudonym -- Usmon Haqnazarov -- that challenged Uzbek government policies.

Analytical articles attributed to Haqnazarov have proven to be very sharp and popular on the Internet for years. Until no, it was not clear who Haqnazarov was and where he was based.

Abdullaev was known in Uzbekistan for his sports journalism and has participated in panel discussions organized by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service.

He was a founder of the media project Ozod Ovoz (Free Voice) and has worked as a correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

Abdullaev, 44, went missing on September 27 and two days later authorities told his wife that he was detained on suspicion of theft.

Abdullaev has been held incommunicado since the day of his disappearance, his relatives say.

Prominent Tashkent-based lawyer Munojat Parpievatold told RFE/RL on September 30 that Abdullaev was being held in a National Security Service (MXX) detention center.

Parpieva added that MXX did not allow her to see Abdullaev.

Tashkent-based human rights defender Surat Ikromov told RFE/RL on October 3 that Abdullaev was charged with infringing the country’s constitutional order.

According to Ikromov, a Tashkent court decided on October 1 to send Abdullaev to pretrial detention.

That has not been officially confirmed.

On October 1, the Paris-based Association of Human Rights in Central Asia urged Tashkent to immediately release Abdullaev, saying that the Uzbek Constitution guarantees freedom of expression.