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Uzbekistan Arrests Opposition Leader


Uzbek authorities have arrested the chairman of the opposition Sunshine Coalition and charged him with embezzlement.

Reports from Tashkent say Sanjar Umarov, a wealthy businessman-turned-politician, was detained late Saturday. Last week, he called on the Uzbek government to start a political dialogue.

The Sunshine Coalition was formed in April, following an uprising in neighboring Kyrgyzstan that ousted President Askar Akayev.

In May, the coalition denounced a brutal government crackdown on protesters in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan, in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed by security forces. The government denies troops' involvement and puts the death toll at 187.

Mr. Umarov's arrest comes as 15 defendants are on trial in Tashkent for their alleged role in the protest rally.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.