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Pregnant Radio Free Europe Journalist Beaten up in Uzbekistan

MOSNEWS | July 5, 2005

A reporter for U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty who is four months pregnant was beaten in Uzbekistan after receiving threats, AP reported Monday quoting the station’s correspondent.

Lobar Qaynarova was attacked on Friday by unidentified assailants in central Syrdarya province’s capital, Gulistan, 120 kilometers (70 miles) south of the national capital, Tashkent, journalist Sadriddin Ashurov said.

Qaynarova was beaten in the stomach, her nose was broken, and her tape recorder was stolen, Ashurov said. She recently interviewed local opposition activists, after which she received threats from unknown people who told her “not to mess with politics,” Ashurov said.

However, Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office said the journalist was attacked for reasons unrelated to her professional activities, RIA Novosti reported Monday.

Svetlana Artykova, a spokesman for the Prosecutor General’s Office, said that the incident “was not linked with the journalist’s professional activities.”

The station’s Tashkent bureau said it sent a letter to the foreign and interior ministries calling for urgent measures to find and punish Qaynarova’s attackers.

The news media are tightly controlled in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation, and journalists are regularly harassed, AP added


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