OSCE media freedom representative urges Tajikistan to release BBC reporter
VIENNA, 7 July 2011 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, today urged the Tajik authorities to release detained BBC reporter Urunboi Usmonov.
Recalling her 16 June letter to Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi, in which she called the arrest of Usmonov an attempt to censor reporting on sensitive issues, Mijatovic said: “I am still waiting for an official response on the case of Usmonov. I once again appeal to the Tajik authorities to respect his presumption of innocence and release him immediately.”
“Usmonov suffers from a heart condition and diabetes, and although he was transferred to another detention facility and now has access to medical treatment, I remain deeply concerned about his fragile health,” she added.
Usmonov, who has worked for the BBC Central Asian Service for 10 years, was arrested on 13 June 2011 for alleged membership in a radical organization.