Gulnara Karimova sent to prison

The daughter of Uzbekistan’s late president Islam Karimov has been sent to prison for allegedly violating the terms of her five-year house arrest.

Gulnara Karimova repeatedly used the internet and left her flat, which she was banned from doing, prosecutors say.

In 2017 Ms Karimova was sentenced to 10 years in jail for fraud and money laundering but that was commuted last year to house arrest.

She was once a diplomat and pop singer who was tipped to succeed her father.

Ms Karimova lived at her daughter’s flat in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. Her Swiss lawyer, Grégoire Mangeat, said on Twitter that the 46-year-old had been “forcibly removed” from the flat on Tuesday afternoon and taken to an unknown location.

“We, her defence counsels, denounce these totally arbitrary methods,” said Mr Mangeat. “For several months now, we have been unsuccessfully asking the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland to commit an expert to establish the absence of the rule of law in Uzbekistan.”

Images posted on Instagram Stories by Ms Karimova’s daughter Iman showed a woman in a short blue robe and pink slippers being dragged out of an apartment by two men. Mr Mangeat also posted the picture online, saying she had been taken to an unknown place.

#Karimova (1/3) Today, at around 2 p.m., Gulnara Karimova was forcibly removed from the apartment in which she was held in Tashkent. ⁦@bbcuzbek⁩ ⁦@ReutersUK⁩ pic.twitter.com/nay0xjRA1W

End of Twitter post by @GregoireMangeat

On Tuesday, a Tashkent court ruled that Ms Karimova must serve the remainder of her term in prison, prosecutors said in a statement.

They allege that she used forbidden communications methods, including the internet; left the flat; and failed to pay the state compensation.

Ms Karimova was once a prominent figure in Uzbek politics who held the posts of ambassador to Spain and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, and was tipped to succeed her father, Islam Karimov, as president.

She also had her own jewellery line, ran an entertainment television channel and released pop singles under the name Googoosha.

But she reportedly fell out with her father and family in 2014 and shortly after she was detained by security forces. She was not seen in public for years and when her father, an authoritarian leader who ran Uzbekistan for 27 years, died in September 2016, she did not attend the funeral.

Prosecutors accused her of being part of a criminal group that controlled assets of more than $1bn (£760m) in 12 countries, including the UK, Russia and United Arab Emirates.

Then-prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev took over as president after the death of Islam Karimov in 2016.

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