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Freedom of expression organisations voice concern over harassment of Bobomurod Abdullayev

(IFEX) - The following statement was issued at the 11th General Meeting of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) in Baku, Azerbaijan, 13-18 June 2004, and is endorsed by the signatories below:

Statement to the Government of Uzbekistan

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the harassment of Bobomurod Abdullayev, director of OZOD OVOZ, a nongovernmental organization that works to defend freedom of expression in Uzbekistan.

Abdullayev came to Baku this week as a participant in the IFEX meeting. On June 13, the day after he left Uzbekistan to travel to Baku, police visited his house in the Kizil-Shark Chilanzarsk region of Uzbekistan. According to Abdullayev, his wife was questioned by the police about his travel and about the work of the IFEX conference.

The next day, June 14, a policeman returned to Abdullayev's home at 6:00 in the morning. According to Abdullayev, the police officer told Abdullayev's wife that there was a warrant outstanding for his arrest. Although specific charges apparently were not specified, we are very concerned that this police harassment and the threat of arrest are connected with OZOD OVOZ's activities on behalf of freedom of expression in Uzbekistan.

Abdullayev's wife and two young children have left their home out of fear for their security, and the undersigned are concerned about potential threats to both Abdullayev and his family upon their return home. We call on the government of President Islam Karimov to ensure that the harassment of Abdullayev and his family ceases immediately, and to ensure that the family is able to return safely to its home without further threat of harassment from authorities.


Azerbaijan Independent Investigative Journalists League
Azerbaijan Journalists Confederation
Belarus Association of Journalists
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network, International
Central Asian and Southern Caucasian Freedom of Expression Network
Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies
Center for Investigative Journalism, Malaysia
Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations
Committee to Protect Journalists
Freedom House
Freedom of Expression Institute
Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Independent Journalism Center, Moldova
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists
International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech "Adil Soz"
International Press Institute
Internews Uzbekistan
Journaliste en danger
Journalists' Trade Union
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Pacific Islands News Association
PEN American Center
Reporters Without Borders
Southeast Asian Press Alliance
Thai Journalists Association
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
World Association of Newspapers
World Press Freedom Committee
Writers in Prison Committee, International PEN

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