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Uzbekistan Arrests 11 On Suspicion Of Religious Extremism

TASHKENT -- Eleven practicing Muslims have been arrested in Tashkent in recent days on suspicion of "extremism," RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Their relatives told RFE/RL that they were arrested in Tashkent's Zangiota district on September 15.

Those detained include Akhror Saidvaliev, 23, and Adkham Siddiqov, 47. Siddiqov is charged with the leadership of an extremist religious group. The identity of the other nine men and women is not known.

Uzbek human rights activists told RFE/RL that under Uzbek law, suspects may be held in custody without a prosecutor's warrant for up to 72 hours. After that, they must either be released or remanded in custody for 10-15 days if found guilty of minor misdemeanors. It is unclear whether the detainees have confessed to any wrongdoing, or have been put on trial.

Representatives of Uzbekistan's Independent Human Rights Defenders movement say they are worried the suspects might "confess to crimes under torture, which is a routine practice used by investigators and law enforcement troops in Uzbekistan."

Read more in Uzbek here