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Independent Uzbek Journalist Released After Nine Years In Prison

Uzbek journalist Salijon Abdurahmonov (left) with human rights activist Abdurahmon Tashanov upon his release from prison on October 4.

Independent journalist Solijon Abdurahmonov has been released after more than nine years in prison in Uzbekistan.

Abdurahmonov, 67, told RFE/RL after his release on October 4 that he is grateful to "all who have been fighting for my release all these years."

Before his arrest in 2008, Abdurahmonov wrote frequently about human rights in the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan and about environmental issues related to the Aral Sea.

He contributed to RFE/RL and the independent news site

Abdurahmonov was arrested after police said they found drugs in his possession, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a trial he contended was retaliation for his journalism in the tightly controlled Central Asian country.

He has maintained his innocence, saying the drugs were planted in his car by police.

Abdurahmonov's release came a day after a prominent human rights activist, Agzam Farmonov, whose 2006 extortion conviction was widely seen as politically motivated, was released after more than 10 years in prison.

Several public figures, journalists, and politicians jailed on politically motivated charges have been released since President Shavkat Mirziyoev came to power following the death of longtime autocrat Islam Karimov last year.