Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Igor Rotar, a correspondent for several Western media outlets including Forum 18, a web-based news service on religious freedom issues.
The journalist was detained by the Immigration Service and Border Guards when he arrived at Tashkent Airport on a flight from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 11 August at 10.25am local time. Igor Rotar continues to be held at the airport by the Uzbekistani authorities.
“Igor Rotar’s detention is part of a wave of intimidation and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders by the Uzbekistani authorities that escalated following the events in Andizhan in May this year,”said Amnesty International today.
Reportedly, his detention took place on the orders of the National Security Service of Uzbekistan. However, when approached by a Western Embassy, the Uzbekistani authorities reportedly denied ever having heard of Igor Rotar, let alone holding him at the airport.
Amnesty International is concerned that recent unrest in Uzbekistan, in particular the events in Andizhan in May 2005, have been used by the authorities to justify a further clampdown on dissent and freedom of expression, association and assembly in the name of “national security” and the “war on terror”.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
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