New York, April 18, 2005—
An Uzbek reporter for the state-run weekly newspaper Hurriyat
(Liberty) has been criminally charged with "undermining the constitutional order" and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to local and international press reports.
Sobirdjon Yakubov, 22, a Muslim, was detained in the capital, Tashkent, on April 11 on suspicions of religious extremism. He was charged three days later, Alisher Sharafutdinov, deputy minister of the interior, announced at a press conference in the capital. The formal charge is based on Yakubov's alleged religious activities. The government did not describe those purported actions in detail, but local reports cited Yakubov's alleged participation in an illegal organization.