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Dissident Uzbek writer held on return from exile
Central Asia | incidents | 09:43, 28 September 2017 | 1267

AKIPRESS.COM - The first prominent dissident to return to Uzbekistan since the death of its long-time leader was detained on arrival on Wednesday, his wife told Reuters.

Uzbek police took writer Nurulloh Muhammad Raufkhon away in handcuffs after he landed at Tashkent airport, and sent him to jail after questioning, Gulnara Otakhonova told Reuters in tears.

Officers told her to bring him clothes and a lawyer but did not say what he was charged with, she added.

Uzbek interior ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Raufkhon had been in self-imposed exile in Turkey since 2016, when he was placed on a security blacklist after publishing a book that criticized former leader Islam Karimov.

Karimov, held responsible by Western governments for systematic human rights violations during his 25 years in power, died last September.

His successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has sought to present himself as a more liberal leader, and this month Raufkhon told Reuters in an interview that, despite harboring some misgivings, he would soon return home.

In an open letter to Mirziyoyev last week, Raufkhon said his safe return would “suit the country which is repackaging itself in front of the world community as free and fair since you came to power”.

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