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Uzbekistan Must Stay on the Path of Religious Freedom Reform

For many years, Uzbekistan presented a bleak picture in a region notorious for poor human rights conditions. Under the country’s late authoritarian leader, Islam Karimov, the government relentlessly repressed all independent religious activity that it did not expressly sanction. In one particularly infamous incident documented in 2002, the bodies of two religious prisoners held at Jasliq Prison—also called the “House of Torture”—were returned to their families with evidence of torture indicating that at least one of them had been boiled alive. A decade later, a popular imam who had fled Uzbekistan and received asylum in Sweden barely survived an assassination attempt that many believed was orchestrated by the government.


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