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Uzbekistan: Exiled Dissident Writer Detained on His Return

An exiled writer returned to Uzbekistan on September 27 only to be slapped into handcuffs on arrival, raising fears that talk of a political thaw may have been premature.

Nurullo Otakhonov’s wife told Moscow-based news website ferghana.ru that she was informed by police that her husband was suspected of trying to bring banned material into the country.

Otakhonov, 62, who writes under the pen-name of Nurullo Muhammad Raufkhon, spoke of his plans to return to Uzbekistan to RFE/RL’s Uzbek service, Radio Ozodlik, on the eve of his departure from his adopted home in Turkey. Otakhonov told Ozodlik that he was taking President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at his word when he urged Uzbek living abroad to return home.

The writer said he was also encouraged by a recent decision to remove thousands of people from blacklists of individuals suspects of links to religious extremist groups. Otakhonov was also included on the state blacklist.

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Uzbekistan: Exiled Dissident Writer Detained on His Return

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