Rights Group: Activist in Uzbekistan Subjected to Abuse

June 4, 2015 Updated: June 4, 2015

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.