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Uzbekistan forced confessions to justify massacre of protesters - Independent, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Uzbekistan forced confessions to justify massacre of protesters By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor Published: 26 August 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2005
      Uzbekistan forced confessions to justify massacre of
      protesters

      By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
      Published: 26 August 2005

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article308257.ece
      http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102x1728531

      Uzbek authorities have jailed hundreds of people and
      forced them to confess to links to radical Islamists
      to justify the army crackdown on peaceful
      demonstrators last May that left 500 people dead, The
      Independent has learnt.

      Human Rights Watch reports that witnesses of the
      massacre in the eastern city of Andizhan and relatives
      of the victims, have been rounded up and jailed for
      between 10 to 15 days on fabricated charges. "They are
      severely beaten and tortured until they sign
      statements confessing to being members of radical
      Islamic groups," a researcher for the group who has
      just visited the central Asian region said.

      The authoritarian government of President Islam
      Karimov has refused all calls for an international
      inquiry into the worst massacre of civilians by an
      army since China's 1994 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

      Despite eyewitness accounts contradicting the
      government version, the Uzbek authorities continue to
      insist that the army was forced to act on 13 May to
      put down an attempt by radical extremist Muslims to
      overthrow it. Human Rights Watch fears that the
      jailing and coercion of "hundreds, or even thousands"
      of people is a deliberate tactic aimed at bolstering
      the government's case. It appears that some have been
      so intimidated that they have readily confessed to
      having been manipulated by the radicals.

      The "uprising" began when a group of 30 locals
      attacked a police station in Andizhan and seized
      weapons that they used to attack a military garrison.
      There, they killed unarmed prison guards as they
      released up to 2,000 inmates, including 23 prominent
      local businessmen accused of Islamist extremism. As
      the unrest spread, the attackers occupied
      administrative buildings and called their relatives
      and supporters into the centre of the town.

      But, according to witness accounts at the time, the
      insurgents were not Islamist radicals as claimed by
      the authorities, but largely devout Muslims following
      the teachings of a jailed former mathematics teacher
      called Akram Yuldashev.

      Later, the protest grew into a rally of thousands of
      people voicing their anger about growing poverty and
      government repression. The gathering of some 2,000
      people, which included women and children, was
      brutally suppressed by the Uzbek military.

      "No one would question the government's legitimate
      right to investigate the raid on the jail, the killing
      of government officials and those events. What is in
      contention here is what happened after that," said
      Rachel Denbar, the deputy director of Europe and
      Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch. The group
      is calling on the European Union to make good on a
      threat of sanctions against the Uzbek government. EU
      foreign ministers threatened to partly suspend a
      co-operation agreement with Tashkent, and to consider
      a ban on military exports unless the Uzbek government
      agreed to an independent, international investigation
      by 1 July.

      When that did not happen, the EU ministers on 18 July
      expressed "profound concern" as they called for an EU
      special representative to travel to Uzbekistan. He has
      not been admitted.

      The issue of the Uzbekistan massacre is not on the
      agenda of the next foreign ministers' meeting on 1
      September. A Foreign Office spokesman denied that this
      was letting President Karimov off the hook. "We are
      working through the United Nations and other regional
      organisations to establish an independent inquiry,"
      the spokesman said.

      Ms Denbar said it "wants to make the EU and the US
      pressure the Uzbek government to accept some kind of
      transparency". She added: "They are literally getting
      away with murder. There's not been a serious
      international challenge to their version of events."

      Uzbek authorities have jailed hundreds of people and
      forced them to confess to links to radical Islamists
      to justify the army crackdown on peaceful
      demonstrators last May that left 500 people dead, The
      Independent has learnt.

      Human Rights Watch reports that witnesses of the
      massacre in the eastern city of Andizhan and relatives
      of the victims, have been rounded up and jailed for
      between 10 to 15 days on fabricated charges. "They are
      severely beaten and tortured until they sign
      statements confessing to being members of radical
      Islamic groups," a researcher for the group who has
      just visited the central Asian region said.

      The authoritarian government of President Islam
      Karimov has refused all calls for an international
      inquiry into the worst massacre of civilians by an
      army since China's 1994 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

      Despite eyewitness accounts contradicting the
      government version, the Uzbek authorities continue to
      insist that the army was forced to act on 13 May to
      put down an attempt by radical extremist Muslims to
      overthrow it. Human Rights Watch fears that the
      jailing and coercion of "hundreds, or even thousands"
      of people is a deliberate tactic aimed at bolstering
      the government's case. It appears that some have been
      so intimidated that they have readily confessed to
      having been manipulated by the radicals.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      More about Islam and Muslims in Uzbekistan at:
      http://www.islamawareness.net/CentralAsia/Uzbekistan/
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Uzbekistan






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