New York, July 14, 2001–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release today of Urinboy Usmonov, a BBC World Service correspondent, detained in June in Tajikistan and calls on authorities to fully exonerate him and remove restrictions on travel. Tajik authorities released Usmonov on bail but continue to charge him with extremism while imposing a travel ban, according to the BBC.
“We are relieved that after a month in prison, Urinboy Usmonov is reunited with his family,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Usmonov’s arrest was unjustified and we call on Tajik authorities to drop their unfounded charges and remove any restrictions on travel.”
Authorities arrested Usmonov on June 13 on charges of belonging to a banned Islamist group and indicted him with making “public calls to forcibly change the constitutional system of Tajikistan,” according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Unable to prove the initial charges, authorities amended the indictment.