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CPJ calls for release of Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev

Kyrgyzstan authorities should immediately release Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev and allow him to work freely. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement.

On August 9, officers with the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security detained Abdullaev, a freelance journalist and Uzbek national, in Bishkek.

As CPJ reports, judge said his arrest was prompted by an extradition request from Uzbek authorities for allegedly «disseminating materials that target the existing constitutional order of Uzbekistan via social media,» and ordered him to be detained for 30 days pending consideration of the request.

«Kyrgyz authorities should deny Uzbekistan’s request to extradite Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev and release him immediately,» said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. «Abdullaev has suffered at hands of Uzbek security services for his journalism in the past and could be subject to torture and ill-treatment again if forcibly returned to his home country. He should be able to work as a journalist freely, safely, and without fear of reprisal.»

Bobomurod Abdullaev came to Kyrgyzstan at the invitation of the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) to undergo a four-month training. However, after completing his training, Abdullaev was unable to leave due to the closure of state borders because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Uzbek authorities accuse Abdullaev of writing critical posts about the government.