Tue, 29 Sep 2020

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan has detained well-known Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev at Tashkent's request.

The Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said on August 10 that Abdullaev is wanted in his native Uzbekistan for unspecified crimes, adding that his possible extradition is under discussion.

A district court in Bishkek later ordered Abdullaev to remain in custody until September 8.

Abdullaev's lawyer, Timur Karabaev, said earlier that his client, who is a temporary resident in an EU member-state, had been in Kyrgyzstan since February.

Abdullaev studied for four months at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek and has been stuck in the country due to coronavirus restrictions, Karabaev said.

Abdullaev was under the focus of human rights groups several years ago after he and three other men were arrested in 2017 in Tashkent and charged with calling for the change of Uzbekistan's constitutional order by force.

The charges against Abdullaev and his co-defendants at the time stemmed from a series of articles under the byline Usman Haqnazarov, which was apparently being used by more than one person.

Abdullaev denied guilt, saying that he was doing his job as a journalist.

In May 2018, Abdullaev was convicted of anti-government propaganda, but was cleared of the more serious charge of conspiracy against the state and was released.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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