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Azam Turgunov
Mutabar Turgunova told RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service that her husband, Azam, a well-known human rights activist who is serving a 10-year sentence, has had no contact with his lawyer or with her since December.

A vocal human rights activist for more than a decade, Turgunov has defended the rights of political and religious prisoners and protested against the use of torture in Uzbekistan's prisons.

He once told Human Rights Watch that "if everybody stays silent, the situation would get even worse."

In October, he was tried and convicted on charges of extortion.

But since the case was reviewed last month, "neither I nor his lawyer know where he is," Turgunova said.
This week's edition of the independent Kyrgyz newspaper "Zhany Ordo" has already sold out, but it may not be due to its popularity with readers.

Someone, it seems, bought all of the copies of "Zhany Ordo," en masse, before the public could get their hands on copies.

Deputy Editor in Chief Shekerbek Kalykov told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that this week's issue includes an article about the robbery of the Osh regional customs chief.

The thieves reportedly stole a significant amount of cash -- estimated at tens of thousands of dollars -- as well as a quantity of gold.

The "Zhany Ordo" article raises the question of why the customs chief would have been in possession of such large quantities of cash and gold in the first place.

Kalykov suggests that someone who did not want the article to be read by the public may be responsible for having bought all of the copies of the newspaper this morning.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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