Urunboy Usmonov

BBC journalist Urunboy Usmonov, who has worked for the corporation's Central Asian service for the past decade

Credit: BBC Pictures

BBC journalist Urunboy Usmonov who was arrested by authorities in Tajikistan two months ago, has told a court that he was tortured and forced to sign a confession during his time in detention.

Usmonov also said he had been beaten and had his arms burned with cigarettes by Tajik security officials.

Usmonov, who 
was released on bail in July, is currently standing trial for charges relating to his contact with extremist Islamic group Hizbut-Tahrir. He denies any involvement with extremism and claims his contact with the group was solely in the course of his work as a journalist.

The BBC called repeatedly for the 59-year-old to be released and now calls on the Tajik authorities to drop the charges against him. The corporation maintains that it regards the allegations against him as completely unfounded.

According to the BBC, Usmonov, who has worked for the corporation's Central Asian Service for the past decade, is standing trial alongside four other defendants, who have pleaded partially guilty to charges of extremism.

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