TASHKENT/PRAGUE. An Uzbek journalist who wrote articles published abroad criticizing corruption in high places has been arrested and faces charges including libel.A human rights activist in Fergana, Abdusalom Ergashev, said today that police acting without a warrant arrested 61-year-old Ergash Bobozhonov Monday in his home in the Fergana region. Ergashev says Bobozhonov also faces charges of threatening to commit murder and disclosure of state secrets.
Bobozhonov is also an active member of the opposition movement Birlik (Unity).Authorities say the libel charge is linked to articles Bobozhonov wrote for the ‘Res publica’ newspaper in neighboring Kyrgyzstan in 1999 and 2001, alleging corruption of local officials. Ergashev says the threat of murder is linked to a 1994 incident where Bobozhonov allegedly threatened to run over someone with a car.
The arrest was the third time in less than a week that Uzbek authorities have taken action against journalists.
(Compiled and translated by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev
and edited by Bruce Pannier in Prague.)