BBC reporter freed but found guilty of extremist ties in Tajikstan

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 17-10-2011

BBC correspondent Urunboy Usmonov has been granted amnesty and released from detention after being found guilty by a Tajikstan court of having ties to banned Islamist extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Throughout his trial, Mr Usmonov protested his innocence. He also claimed he had been tortured and forced to sign a false confession following his arrest on 13 June 2011. He said he had been beaten and security officers had burnt his arms with cigarettes while in custody.
The BBC World Service 'strongly condemns' the guilty verdict handed down and, like Mr Usmonov, maintains the allegations are completely unfounded.
The 59 year old reporter, who has worked for the BBC Central Asia Service for the past decade, is to appeal the decision at the High Court.
"We will continue to support Urunboy and hope that the appeal process will lead to his reputation as a highly respected writer and journalist being restored," said Peter Horrocks, Director BBC Global News.
"We also intend to press for answers over the torture and mistreatment Urunboy suffered while in custody and to raise real concerns about shortcomings in the legal process."