Police detained Hayot Nasriddinov, a Tashkent-based freelance journalist, on October 20, 2017, the independent journalist Aleksey Volosevich told CPJ. Neither Volosevich nor CPJ could determine whether Nasriddinov had been charged.
Nasriddinov, who also goes by Khan Nasriddinov, contributed to U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian Service, the independent regional news website Fergana, and other outlets. He covered economics, politics, and social issues in Uzbekistan as well as Russia.
One of the most recent articles Nasriddinov authored before his imprisonment was an analysis of Uzbekistan’s economic reforms published on the independent regional news site Centrasia in September 2017.
According to Volosevich and media reports, Uzbek authorities held Nasriddinov incommunicado in the weeks after his arrest, in a detention center belonging to the security services, known as SNB. Volosevich told CPJ that he tried to interview Nasriddinov’s family but his relatives were not willing to talk to journalists for fear of reprisal from the government.
The exiled leader of an opposition political group, Sunshine Uzbekistan, Nigora Khidoyatova, who knows Nasriddinov personally, told the U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America, citing mutual friends, that neither the family nor the state-appointed lawyer had been able to visit the journalist.
In an interview with Voice of America, Khidoyatova speculated that Nasriddinov’s arrest could be related to the case of another Uzbek journalist, Bobomurod Abdullayev, who was detained in late September.
CPJ was unable to confirm that Nasriddinov’s arrest was related to Abdullaev’s case.
Authorities charged Abdullaev with “attacking the constitutional order” of Uzbekistan for writing articles on various platforms, including social media, under the pseudonym Usman Khaknazarov, according to the court documents Fergana published on October 5, 2017. Articles written under the pseudonym have been critical of Uzbek authorities, including late President Islam Karimov and the state security service chief, Rustam Inoyatov. Some of the more recent articles attributed to Khaknazarov gave alleged insights into the power struggle between Karimov’s successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Inoyatov, frequently featuring Mirziyoyev more favorably.
An economics professor and a former banker, Nasriddinov also worked as a high school teacher at the time of his arrest.
CPJ’s calls to the Uzbek security services went unanswered.
CPJ was unable to determine the state of Nasriddinov’s health.