BBC reporter on trial in Tajikistan 'was tortured'

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The Independent Online

The lawyer for a BBC reporter on trial in Tajikistan for allegedly belonging to a banned radical Islamic group says her client was tortured shortly after his detention in June.

Fayzinisso Vokhidova said today that security services officers beat up veteran BBC Central Asia service journalist Uronboi Usmonov and stubbed out cigarettes on his wrists.

She says Usmonov refrained from talking about the alleged torture earlier for fear of worsening the mistreatment.

Security services could not immediately be reached for comment.

The BBC says the charges against Usmonov are unfounded and that any meetings he had with members of Hizb ut-Tahrir were for purely journalistic purposes.

Usmonov's case has drawn widespread international criticism, including from the United States and the European Union.