The BBC has demanded the immediate release of one of its journalists who has reportedly been detained in Tajikistan.

Reports emerged yesterday that Urunboy Usmonov, who has worked for the BBC Central Asian Service for the past decade, had been reported missing by his family on Monday, after failing to come home after work.

According to the BBC, Usmonov turned up at his house on Tuesday with members of the Tajik security services, allegedly appearing to his family as though he had been "beaten up".

The BBC claims a search was conducted of his home by the officers before he was taken away and has not had access to his family since.

"The BBC now understands that Mr Usmonov has been accused of having links to the Hizbi Tahrir party – an Islamic organisation which is banned in Tajikistan," a spokesman said.

"Whilst Mr Usmonov has reported on the judicial trials and activities of the Hizbi Tahrir party in Tajikistan at the request of the BBC, the BBC has no reason to believe these allegations."

The broadcaster added that it "deplores" the alleged treatment Usmonov and demands his release.

According to French news wire AFP Usmonov was being detained in the north of Tajikistan.

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