Uzbekistan: son of jailed rights defender arrested for forgery

Police arrested Ilkhom Zainabitdinov after allegedly finding forged documents and counterfeit bank notes at his home in the eastern city of Andijan, the Interior Ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Zainabitdinov's family said he was arrested May 22, but denied he possessed any counterfeit money.

The ministry said the arrest was not connected to work as a rights activist, the AP reports.

Zainabitdinov's father, Saidjahon, was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this year for openly criticizing the government after the bloody suppression of the May 2005 anti-government uprising in Andijan.

Saidjahon Zainabitdinov provided journalists and foreign observers with details about the Andijan uprising, which participants said was triggered by abuses and poverty.

Rights groups say hundreds of civilians died when government troops opened fire on the crowd; the government blamed Islamic militants for instigating the violence, and said 187 people died.

Since the Andijan uprising, authorities in this ex-Soviet republic have stepped up their crackdown on dissent. Several Uzbek rights defenders and opposition activists were convicted in recent months on charges they say were trumped up and foreign media and aid groups have been forced to leave the Central Asian nation.

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