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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uzbekistan Expels 2 Journalists

A Dutch reporter and a Russian photographer were arrested and deported from Uzbekistan after interviewing members of an opposition party, one of the journalists said Monday.


Hubert Smeets, correspondent of the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, and his photographer, Oleg Klimov, were detained for 12 hours and escorted to an airplane after meeting with members of Erk, an Uzbek opposition political party.


During their detention the journalists had their passports confiscated, were confined to a single room and were denied a telephone call.


Smeets said he met with representatives of Erk in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, last Thursday, but that he and Klimov were followed by police when they left the interview.


Early Friday morning, the journalists were instructed to report to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry where they were told they had "violated" the program agreed upon for their visit, and were to be expelled from Uzbekistan immediately.


Visitors have experienced problems obtaining visas and traveling freely through Uzbekistan since it began enforcing new visa regulations last year.