The two independent journalists Sid Yanyshev et Pavel Kravets, arrested three days ago as they were taking photos of Axia market in Tashkent, were released later that evening after spending seven hours in custody, Reporters Without Borders has learned.
Police said the pair had not been detained but were asked to explain the reasons for their presence at the market. Officers asked them highly specific questions about their work, such as the name of person who had commissioned them, how much they were paid for the photographs and why they had chosen particular subjects to shoot.
Yanyshev was asked to give a detailed explanation in a statement.
When they were released, the head of operations asked them to return at 10 a.m. the next day with their passports.
30.07.2012 - Two independent journalists detained in Tashkent
Reporters Without Borders is very worried by today’s arrest of two independent journalists, Sid Yanyshev and Pavel Kravets, as they were taking photos of Axia market in Tashkent to illustrate a series of articles on preparations for Uzbekistan’s independence day, on 1 September.
“The arrest of these two journalists is disturbing and the grounds given by the police seem absurd,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We firmly condemn their arbitrary detention and we call for their immediate release. We intend to follow events closely during the coming hours.”
When the police arrested Yanyshev and Kravets at around 5 p.m., they showed no documents proving that it was forbidden to take photos of the market, but they accused the journalists of “pursuing a strategic goal.”
They were taken to the internal affairs department in Tashkent, where their mobile phones were confiscated.