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Uzbekistan ex-president's daughter sent to prison - prosecutors

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TASHKENT (Reuters) – A court in Uzbekistan has ordered Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the late Uzbek president, to serve the remainder of a criminal sentence in prison for having allegedly violated the terms of her house arrest, the prosecutor general’s office said on Wednesday.

Karimova, a businesswoman who also recorded pop songs, has not been seen in public for several years after an apparent falling-out with her father Islam Karimov, who ran the Central Asian nation for 27 years before his death in 2016.

In the early hours of Wednesday, prosecutors said that Karimova was being sent to prison for having “systematically violated the obligations” related to a previous five-year sentence on charges of embezzlement and extortion.

Those terms included not leaving her home and not using the internet or phones.

Her Swiss lawyer Gregoire Mangeat wrote on Twitter that she was “forcibly removed” from the apartment where she lived in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on Tuesday. The authorities said she was taken to a prison.

Uzbek authorities have been seeking to freeze Karimova’s assets, including in Switzerland, Britain, France and a string of other countries.

“She was taken to an unknown place,” Mangeat wrote. “The Uzbek authorities continue to exert psychological and physical pressure on her to force her to withdraw her appeals and abandon all her rights and property in Switzerland.”

Karimova disappeared from public view in 2014. The first official word of her fate was in 2017, when the prosecutor general’s office said she had been convicted and sentenced in 2015 to five years probation, the equivalent of house arrest in Uzbekistan, for acquiring stakes in a number of companies through extortion or embezzlement, and for tax evasion.

The prosecutors said at the time she was still under investigation for other crimes.

Islam Karimov led Uzbekistan first as the head of the local Communist Party and then as president of the newly independent republic.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the country’s long-serving prime minister, was elected as president in late 2016.

(Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov in Tashkent and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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