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Elderly Critic Of Karimov Released From Jail

An elderly Uzbek activist known for his open criticism of President Islam Karimov has been released after serving 8 1/2 years in prison.

Isoq Abdullaev, 78, from Uzbekistan's northwestern province of Khorezm, was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2005 on multiple charges, including tax evasion, fraud, and kidnapping.

Abdullaev achieved notoriety when he brandished a gun at police during his arrest.

Abdullaev's relatives have insisted that his prosecution was politically motivated.

They told RFE/RL that Abdullaev was released on January 27 as part of a national amnesty adopted last month to mark the 21st anniversary of the country's constitution.

According to the amnesty, inmates older than 60 must either be released or their terms shortened.

At least seven well-known inmates, whose ages are over 60, remain in Uzbek prisons.