Abduraimov, a correspondent with the national weekly Yangi Asr, was convicted of extortion and sentenced to 13 years in prison. In a January 15, 2001, article in Yangi Asr, Abduraimov charged that Nusrat Radzhabov, head of the Boysunsky District grain production company Zagotzerno, had misappropriated state funds and falsified documents. Abduraimov also accused the businessman of killing a 12-year-old in a car accident and alleged that Radzhabov’s teenage son was part of a group that had beaten and raped a 13-year-old boy.
Radzhabov claims that Abduraimov asked him for money and threatened to publish more accusations unless he was paid. According to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Radzhabov tried to sue Abduraimov for slander but dropped the suit after a local prosecutor’s investigation confirmed the facts in the article.
Authorities arrested Abduraimov and accused him of receiving a US$6,000 bribe. He and a witness quoted by the IWPR claimed that a man threw the money into the back seat of his car immediately before police stopped his vehicle, searched it, and arrested him.
Abduraimov was held in Termez Regional Police Department jail until his trial began in Termez City Court on July 4, 2001.
According to Abduraimov, the court proceedings were influenced by local officials who objected to his reporting on corruption in the oil business. His request for a change of venue was not granted. He refused to attend the hearings and was sentenced in absentia.
Abduraimov is known for his investigative reporting and critical stance toward local law enforcement bodies and authorities. The journalist and his family have been persecuted for several years with threatening phone calls, while his son was reportedly beaten by police and sentenced to four months in jail for disorderly conduct. Supporters say Abduraimov was most likely framed, and it is not known where he is being held.