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Uzbek dissident detained upon return from exile

ALMATY (Reuters) - Uzbek police detained dissident writer Nurulloh Muhammad Raufkhon as he returned to the Central Asian country from Turkey on Wednesday, his wife told Reuters.

Gulnara Otakhonova said by telephone from Tashkent that police had escorted her husband, handcuffed, out of the airport and taken him to a police station.

She said police only told her where they were taking Raufkhon, without explaining the reason for his detention or allowing her to talk to him.

The government of late President Islam Karimov put Raufkhon on its security blacklist last year after he published a book criticizing Karimov.

The move forced Raufkhon, who was in Turkey at the time, into a de facto exile.

Having been president for a quarter of a century, Karimov died last September. His successor Shavkat Mirziyoyev last month ordered the removal of 16,000 people from the blacklist, prompting Raufkhon to return.

Karimov was derided by Western governments as a dictator who violated human rights, but for many people in Uzbekistan, a mainly Muslim ex-Soviet state which borders Afghanistan, he is the only head of state they have ever known.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)