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Uzbekistan2 October 2006

Detained independent journalists get Soviet-style psychiatric treatment

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the continuing persecution of Uzbekistan’s independent journalists after Ulugbek Khaidarov’s family told Radio Free Europe he has been mistreated in prison and it emerged that Djamshid Karimov, President Islam Karimov’s nephew, has been forcibly committed to a psychiatric hospital.

“These are practices worthy of the Soviet era, when people were treated as mentally ill when all they did was voice their disagreement with the official line,” the press freedom organisation said. “We call on the Uzbek authorities to release these two journalists at once and let them work freely.”

Karimov went missing on 12 September. His friends finally discovered that he had been committed without any explanation to a psychiatric hospital in Samarkand. His wife Nargiza has not been allowed to visit him there.

Khaidarov was arrested on a clearly trumped-up charge on 14 September. When his wife Munira was finally allowed to see him she was shocked by his state of health. She said her husband was under the influence of psychotropic drugs and had lost a lot of weight.




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