MOSCOW – An international rights group says an activist in Uzbekistan has been detained and subjected to degrading treatment while documenting forced labor in this Central Asian country.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday that Elena Urlaeva was detained on May 31 in a cotton field in the city of Chinaz where she was interviewing and photographing forced laborers. The group said that Urlaeva was then taken to a police station and subjected to an 18-hour interrogation. After that, a female doctor was ordered to search the woman, she was sedated and then subjected to a body cavity search and X-rays.
Uzbekistan, led by authoritarian president Islam Karimov, has faced criticism over its use of mandatory labor in the cotton industry.