Situated more than 1,200 kilometres west of Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent, in the parched landscape of Karakalpakstan near what had been the Aral Sea, Jaslyk had long-been one of the Central Asian republic's most notorious prisons where death and torture were common.

On 2 August, however, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ordered its closure as part of his effort to improve Uzbekistan's image abroad after more than two decades of autocratic rule by its previous leader, Islam Karimov, who turned th...

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