Terror or insurgency in Uzbekistan, US Ally?

Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 05:47 pm
European Socialists put EU ministers under pressure over Uzbek killings

13 September 2005

The failure of EU ministers to act over the killing of up to 1,000 civilians by security forces in Uzbekistan has brought strong protest from leading Socialist [Members of European Parliament, MEP's].

On 13 September the MEPs tabled a parliamentary question protesting that four months after the killings in Andijan, Uzbekistan, no action has been taken by the EU and the Uzbek government has ignored international calls for an independent enquiry into the events.

The Council has repeatedly strongly condemned the "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Uzbek security forces" in which possibly as many as 1000 civilians were killed on 12 and 13 May 2005. But neither the European threat of partial suspension of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, nor the appointment of a special envoy for Central Asia, Mr Jan Kubis, has led to any result.

"Why hasn't stronger and swifter action been taken against Uzbekistan?" ask Socialist Group vice-presidents Hannes Swoboda and Jan Marinus Wiersma today.

Said Mr Wiersma: "The European Parliament has strongly condemned the behaviour of the Uzbek authorities and has urged the Council to take a firm stand in this issue. But it didn't even appear on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers' recent informal meeting in Newport".

Said Mr Swoboda: "Apparently, if we do not follow up European Parliament resolutions ourselves, they are quickly forgotten."

They have submitted written questions to the Council, asking what action has been taken so far, what action is being considered and whether diplomatic efforts, including those by Mr Kubis, are being coordinated with Russia and the US.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 01:10 am
Uzbeks accuse foreign media of coup attempt as Andijan 'show trial' opens

· BBC named for 'colluding' with 15 Islamic militants
· Observers brand Tashkent proceedings as a sham

Nick Paton Walsh in Tashkent
Wednesday September 21, 2005
The Guardian

Western aid groups and journalists, including the BBC, helped Islamists in a bid to overthrow the Uzbek government, prosecutors claimed yesterday at the start of a trial of 15 men accused of organising May's uprising in Andijan.
The claim was part of an attempt to portray the massacre in the eastern town of Andijan, in which witnesses have said at least 500 protesters were gunned down by Uzbek troops on or after May 13 this year, as a foreign-assisted coup aimed at forming an Islamic caliphate.

The deputy prosecutor general, Anvar Nabiev, said the "foreign destructive forces" behind the uprising "used so-called human rights groups and foreign media whose aim was to blacken the actions of the Uzbek government and help destabilise society". He said some aid groups were created "just to help" such Islamic extremists.
The team of four blue-uniformed prosecutors put their case for five hours before the defendants, all well-dressed and fed, rose inside a large metal cage, to declare their guilt, on all charges. Their defence lawyers remained silent. All 15 face the death penalty over dozens of charges including murder, trying to overthrow the constitutional order and attempting a coup. A further 106 men will be tried.

Islamic extremism and the foreign media are commonly cited by authoritarian regimes in central Asia. Yet Uzbek prosecutors made little mention of the armed jailbreak that may have killed up to 50 prison guards, and which sparked the protests, and the crackdown.

Mr Nabiev said the 15 were linked to the Akramiya group, an Islamic movement that encourages business success. The arrest and jailbreak of 23 of its members started the Andijan uprising. Mr Nabiev said Akramiya was linked to fundamentalists Hizb ut-Tahrir and to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the US blacklisted for its links to al-Qaida. He said $200,000 (£110,000) had been sent from Akramiya cells in the Russian towns of Omsk and Ivanovo to fund the operation. Hizb ut-Tahrir denies such links.

The prosecutors stopped short of accusing the foreign media of having co-planned the event, yet suggested they had been tipped off. They said several foreign journalists in Andijan on the day of the massacre were brought to the state building seized by the gunmen so they would report a peaceful uprising. A Human Rights Watch report released yesterday documented months of abuse against foreign media and rights workers who exposed the scale of the massacre.

Mr Nabiev singled out two BBC journalists: Jenny Norton, a World Service reporter, for saying the protests in Andijan were of "an unprecedented scale"; and a Russian Service correspondent, Valeri Pankrashin, for saying Akramiya members were businessmen, not extremists. A reporter for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Galina Bukharbayeva, was also frequently criticised for similar comments made on CNN and in her reports.

Mr Nabiev claimed the Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, had negotiated with the uprising's organisers for 11 hours but that their leader, Kabul Parpiev, who remains at large, had refused their offer of safe passage after talking to his handlers in Afghanistan. When the troops neared the seized building, the gunmen began to flee, "standing behind hostages as human shields", a prosecutor added.

"They killed hostages who resisted them," he said. He read a list of victims, repeating the government line that civilians among the 187 dead were shot in the back by the militants. Witnesses have said troops shot randomly at protesters in the afternoon, and finished off wounded survivors with a shot to the head.

Craig Murray, ex-British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said: "This is a hideous show trial, more suited to Stalin's Russia than a country today where the US and UK still have embassies. In a state where prisoners are routinely tortured, sometimes by immersion into boiling water, admissions of guilt are ten-a-penny." Despite admissions of guilt, the supreme court trial is expected to last for weeks.

Murad Batior, an official held hostage by the gunmen, said outside court that he recognised two defendants: "The gunmen told me I worked for the state and would have to answer. They killed a policeman before my eyes, cutting his eyes out."
0 Replies
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 04:34 am
Scary, that.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2005 01:14 pm
Ukraine ex-PM warrant cancelled

By Helen Fawkes

BBC News, Kiev
Monday, 26 September 2005

Russian prosecutors have cancelled an arrest warrant for the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
The decision was made after she went to Moscow voluntarily to give evidence to the military prosecutor's office and agreed to return for the investigation. Mrs Tymoshenko was appointed prime minister after playing a leading role in Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

The mass protests led to Ukraine getting its first pro-western president, Viktor Yushchenko.

During her time as prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko had refused to travel to Russia because of the arrest warrant but on Saturday she made a private visit to Moscow.

Television appearance

Mrs Tymoshenko is accused of bribing Russian military officials when she was in charge of Ukraine's main gas distributor in the 1990s, an allegation she denies.

Now the arrest warrant, which had strained relations between Ukraine and Russia, has been lifted.

The timing of this is seen as significant - it was less than three weeks ago that the prime minister was sacked.

She has vowed to stand against the president's party in next year's parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

Analysts say that Mrs Tymoshenko is changing her political image to make her more attractive to pro-Russian voters.

The former prime minister has not yet commented on the situation but is expected to appear live on Ukrainian television later on Monday.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2005 12:27 am
Deleted, thanks to nimh - see below
0 Replies
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 07:09 am
Eh, Walter -

wrong thread...

You probably want the Ukraine one
0 Replies
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 07:17 am
But this one is about Uzbekistan ... the EU is (finally) upping the pressure. Good.

Lets hope the US will be pressured to follow suit. (Not much hope of Russia doing so.)

EU Wants To Impose Arms Embargo against Uzbekistan (article in German)

Here's the translation:

EU Wants To Impose Arms Embargo against Uzbekistan

The European Union is preparing an arms embargo and further sanctions against Uzbekistan vor. Reason is the refusal of the Uzbek government, to permit an independent inquest into the bloody excesses of May, it arises from a draft for a decision by the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs next Monday in Luxemburg. Foreseen are a suspension on the delivery of weapons, military equipment and other materials that could serve in the repression in the country. Additionally there should be visa restrictions for certain persons. The technical co-operation with Uzbekistan would be broken off.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 07:18 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Deleted, thanks to nimh

The one before is Ukraine, too... :wink:
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 07:24 am
Similar article in e.g. the Independent: EU imposes sanctions on Uzbekistan

The US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried was in Tashkent on 27 September to formalize what was already known for two months: the US military is leaving Uzbekistan by the end of this year.

0 Replies
Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 06:03 am

Time to pressure the US administration to do the same.

EU Imposes Sanctions on Uzbekistan

Mon Oct 3

LUXEMBOURG - The European Union imposed an arms embargo on Uzbekistan, cut aid, and suspended a cooperation accord on Monday to punish the increasingly isolated country for refusing to investigate the violent suppression of an uprising in May.

The EU foreign ministers also banned Uzbek officials who they said were responsible for "the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force" from traveling to Western Europe.

The action was taken, officials said, because authorities in the Central Asian country continue to refuse an independent international inquiry into possible human rights violations in May, when hundreds died in the eastern city of Andijan.

[..] Monday's decision marked the first time the European Union suspended a "Partnership and Cooperation Agreement" with another country. These accords contain a human rights clause that requires countries to show "respect for democracy, principles of international law and human rights."

The EU is also moving to redirect financial assistance to Uzbekistan.

Out of the $9.7 million originally earmarked for economic and political reform in Uzbekistan in 2005, $1.8 million will be shifted to non-governmental organizations. Aid for 2006, totaling $13.6 million, is to be cut to $11.2 million with the savings to be redirected to anti-poverty campaigns in Uzbekistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan. [..]
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 03:17 pm
The head of the Popular Democratic Party has accused the EU of double standards:

Uzbekistan party leader accuses EU of double standards.

04.10.2005, 16.13

TASHKENT, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - The sanctions of the European Union against Uzbekistan are a reflection of Western double standards, the chief of the central board of the Popular Democratic party, Latif Gulyamov, said

On Monday, the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers decided to announce an embargo on sales of arms to Uzbekistan and use other sanctions for Tashkent's not agreeing to an international probe into May's events in Andizhan.

"Attempts of destabilising the situation in Central Asia for getting free access to raw material resources of the region are apparent," Gulyamov said.

European democracy itself is in crisis, a telling indication of which has been failure of referendums on the European Union's constitution in several countries," he added.

The events in Andizhan are interpreted in the West tendentiously to political ends. The fact that religious extremists who attacked representatives of authority used arms first is hushed up, Gulyamov said.

"The European Union does not even want to wait until the end of the open trial in the Supreme Court of the mutineers and officials who allowed the massive riots, making the leadership of the republic guilty in advance," he said.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 03:19 pm
Uzbek rights groups applauded the sanctions though some acknowledge that little may come of them:

UZBEKISTAN: Rights activists welcome EU sanctions
04 Oct 2005 15:16:12 GMT

Source: IRIN
ANKARA, 4 October (IRIN) - Rights groups have welcomed a decision by the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on Uzbekistan, following the country's refusal for an international probe into the Andijan killings of May.

"It's the right thing to impose these sanctions with regard to Uzbekistan and I support it," Surat Ikramov, head of the Independent Initiative Group of Human Rights Activists of Uzbekistan (IIGHRAU), a local rights group, said from the Uzbek capital Tashkent on Tuesday.

His colleague Tolib Yakubov, head of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), another local rights body, agreed.

"What the EU has done is the right thing," Yakubov said, adding, however, that given the magnitude of the crime the sanctions should have been tougher.

Adding their assessment, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that by imposing sanctions on Uzbekistan over its refusal to allow an independent inquiry into the Andijan massacre, the EU gave new impetus to international efforts to pursue accountability for atrocities committed in the eastern Uzbek city on 13 May.

"With today's [Monday's] decision, the EU has given much-needed concrete meaning to its human rights policy," Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director of HRW, remarked.

Their comments came after the EU imposed an arms embargo, cut aid and suspended a cooperation accord on Monday to punish Tashkent for refusing to investigate the violent suppression of an uprising in Andijan. The EU foreign ministers also banned senior Uzbek officials cited as involved in the killings from travelling to Western Europe.

The decision marks the first time in the EU's history that it had suspended a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with another country. The agreement contains a human rights clause that states: "respect for democracy, principles of international law and human rights...underpin the internal and external policies of the parties and constitute essential elements of partnership and of this agreement."

According to the Associated Press (AP), out of the US $9.7 million originally earmarked for economic and political reform in Uzbekistan in 2005, $1.8 million is expected to be shifted to non-governmental organisations. Aid for 2006, totalling $13.6 million, is to be cut to $11.2 million with the savings to be redirected to anti-poverty campaigns in Uzbekistan and neighbouring Kyrgyzstan.

Upwards of 1,000 civilians may have been killed in Andijan on 13 May, according to some rights groups, when Uzbek forces opened fire indiscriminately at anti-government protesters. Tashkent says the official death toll was 187.

But while activists welcome the move by Brussels, they warn that the actual impact of the sanctions should not be overstated.

"These sanctions adopted by the EU perhaps in a way will urge the [Uzbek] authorities [to act], but I don't think that this will provide the possibility that they agree to an international inquiry into what transpired in Andijan," Ikramov continued.

"It is very difficult to predict the implications of the sanctions. The Uzbek authorities would not be very worried about the EU's ban on sales of arms as Russia and China are supplying them with arms. These states might somehow support [President Islam} Karimov's regime financially. For those officials who are responsible for Andijan and won't be able to fly to Europe it is not a big deal, they will simply use a policy of 'wait and see'," Yakubov said.

"However, it is a very good move because Karimov's regime should know that the world community is alert and watching the things in Uzbekistan," Yakubov added.

Meanwhile, HRW urged the EU to use its summit with Russia to raise its concerns about Uzbekistan with Russian President Vladimir Putin and seek Moscow's support for an independent, international inquiry into the Andijan events.

Russia has been a staunch supporter of Uzbekistan since the Andijan massacre. "Russia can play a crucial role in ensuring accountability for the Andijan massacre," said HRW's Cartner. "This week's summit in London provides an important opportunity for the EU to demonstrate its resolve by seeking President Putin's support on this issue."
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 03:19 pm
The BBC reports on Nigora Khidoyatova's reaction:

Uzbek opposition lauds sanctions

By Ian MacWilliam
BBC News, Tashkent

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Opposition groups in Uzbekistan say they are encouraged by the European Union's decision to bring sanctions against the Central Asian country.
The EU has said it will ban weapons exports to Uzbekistan, and will also refuse visas to certain officials.

The move is in response to Uzbekistan's refusal to allow an independent investigation into unrest in Andijan.

Witnesses say hundreds of people were killed there in May, when troops fired on an anti-government demonstration.

The government insists the incident was an uprising by radical Muslims.

The leader of a party belonging to the opposition Sunshine Coalition said she was very encouraged by the EU decision to bring sanctions against Uzbekistan.

Nigara Khidayatova said the ban on visas for some Uzbek officials would be embarrassing for them, and would let the world know that everything was not normal in Uzbekistan.

Media censorship

On Monday Ms Khidayatova was criticised as a troublemaker on state-controlled television.

The Sunshine Coalition is an alliance of opposition groups and businessmen who want free market reforms in Uzbekistan, where much of the stagnating economy is still controlled by government officials.

There has been no reaction yet from the Uzbek government to the EU decision, because the president is on a trip to Malaysia.

Many ordinary people in Tashkent have not heard the news, which has not been reported on the state media.

In one shopping area where traders wait to sell handicrafts to scarce tourists, many say they do not watch government TV or that they are too busy trying to find work to worry about politics.

But others admit they are angry about the shootings in Andijan, and about the ongoing trial of 15 men accused of terrorism for allegedly organising the unrest.

One young man said the trial was all a lie and the sanctions should be tougher.

While many people are afraid to speak openly, such views appear to be spreading in Uzbekistan.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 25 Oct, 2005 10:46 am
Uzbek Opposition Leader Arrested

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - An Uzbek opposition leader who pushed for an easing of the country's autocratic rule was arrested on embezzlement charges Monday, the Interior Ministry said.

Sanjar Umarov, chairman of the Sunshine Coalition, was arrested for "the theft of millions and embezzlement," the ministry said.

Umarov, a wealthy businessman-turned-politician, was detained on Saturday, the Fergana.ru Web site said.

Umarov called on the Uzbek government last week to start a political dialogue, and sent an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was visiting Uzbekistan at the time.

In the letter, the coalition expressed its intention to look for a resolution of the political crisis in Uzbekistan, and called for stronger integration and economic ties with Russia.

The Sunshine Coalition was formed in April in the wake of the revolution in neighboring Kyrgyzstan that ousted President Askar Akayev. It gained prominence in May for denouncing the brutal quelling of a popular uprising in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 26 Oct, 2005 01:58 pm
'Harassed' BBC shuts Uzbek office

Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 19:35 GMT

The BBC is suspending its newsgathering operations in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan due to security concerns.

All local staff are being withdrawn and the office in the capital Tashkent will close for at least six months pending a decision on its long term future.

Regional Head Behrouz Afagh said the staff had been harassed and intimidated in recent months, making it difficult for them to do their job.

But he said the BBC remained committed to covering events in Uzbekistan.

"Over the past four months since the unrest in Andijan, BBC staff in Uzbekistan have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation which has made it very difficult for them to report on events in the country," Mr Afagh said.

"BBC World Service remains committed to covering events in Uzbekistan, and its English language correspondents will continue to seek access to the country and to report on events there as and when they are granted visas."

International pressure

In June, the World Service correspondent, Monica Whitlock, was forced to leave Tashkent under pressure from the government.

Two local members of staff have since been granted refugee status by the United Nations.

The Uzbek Ambassador to London has declined an invitation to discuss the issue with the BBC.

The unrest in Andijan in May began when a group of men stormed the town's prison and freed 23 businessmen accused of being Islamic extremists.

A large anti-government protest was then staged, joined by hundreds of residents as well as the freed prisoners.

Uzbekistan says 169 people died when soldiers put down the "bandit uprising", but human rights groups believe that 500 people were killed.

The Uzbek government has rejected international calls for an independent inquiry into the crackdown. Fifteen men are currently on trial, accused of being behind the protests.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 26 Nov, 2005 03:00 pm
Uzbekistan has confirmed that German troops can remain at its Termez military base even though several NATO countries have been banned from using Uzbekistan's territory or airspace for military operations in Afghanistan.

An unnamed government official said, "No notification has been sent to Germany. Its base in the south will no doubt remain". The German embassy in Uzbekistan also confirmed that the base is still used by the German troops.

Germany Seeks Uzbek Base Alternatives

Germany is seeking alternatives to its military base in Uzbekistan after the Central Asian nation banned several European countries from stationing troops there.

"We are going to have talks with Uzbekistan to develop alternatives," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said ahead of a meeting to be held next week. "I think we will be able to clarify this issue."

Germany's new Chancellor Angela Merkel had raised the issue with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer during a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, Wilhelm said.


Some 300 German troops are in Uzbekistan, mostly maintenance crews for aircraft used in supporting the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, a NATO source had said Germany was among several member countries informed by the Uzbek government that it could no longer use its territory as a rear base for operations in Afghanistan.

Germany exempt

However, on Thursday an official in the Uzbek foreign ministry said that Germany was exempt from the ban, although Belgium, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands had been told they would no longer be able to station troops in Uzbekistan or use its airspace.

"No notification has been sent to Germany. Its base in the south will no doubt remain," the official said, referring to the Termez facility in the south of the country where some 300 German personnel are stationed.

For the other countries, the ban could hamper logistical operations in Afghanistan for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which commands the 10,000 troops from 37 countries of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Germany would then be the only NATO country with ground troops in Uzbekistan and, along with the United States, the only country allowed to use the airspace en route to Afghanistan.

Strained relations

Relations between Uzbek President Islam Karimov's regime and the West have deteriorated since Uzbek forces put down an uprising in the eastern city of Andijan last May.

Washington angered Tashkent by calling for an international inquiry into the bloodshed, while human rights activists say that hundreds of people, mostly civilians, were killed.

The European Union also called for an international probe and last week banned 12 Uzbek leaders from entering the bloc.

Uzbekistan reacted by evicting the US military from the Karshi-Khanabad base, set up in 2001 for US-led military operations to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 12:35 am
Germany urged to seize 'Butcher of Tashkent'

By Leonard Doyle, Foreign Editor
Published: 20 December 2005

Where is Zokirjon Almatov the torturer-in-chief of Uzbekistan and why has he not been arrested by the German authorities?

That is the question that human rights activists and torture survivors, as well as those who lived through the 13 May massacre of unarmed protesters in the streets of Andijan, are asking themselves.

Mr Almatov, Uzbekistan's Interior Minister, travelled to Germany for medical treatment despite being at the head of a European Union sanctions list and was in a clinic in Hanover last week when his victims filed a suit in a German courtcalling for his prosecution for crimes against humanity. The United Nations' special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, also called on Germany to initiate a criminal investigation and prosecute Mr Almatov but nothing was done.

On Thursday, the German federal prosecutor, Kay Nehm, said he would look into a demand by Human Rights Watch to charge Mr Almatov with crimes against humanity for murder and torture, but as of last night not a finger had been lifted. It was reported moreover, that the man known as the "Butcher of Tashkent" was safely back in Uzbekistan.

It has also emerged that Uzbekistan is going to allow Germany to keep its military base on Uzbek soil, after threatening to close it down. Germany's defence ministry said the long-term deal will ensure that Termez will remain a hub for its logistics for Afghanistan, including the evacuation of wounded Nato soldiers.

Despite being considered a stalwart ally of Washington in the "war on terror" earlier this year, the Uzbek government booted the US out of a vast former Soviet military base in the southeast of the country and demanded that Nato withdraw all its troops and stop overflights. This followed Western criticism of the government's bloody crackdown on mass protests in the city of Andijan in May. As many as 700 people were mown down by interior ministry troops under Mr Almatov's command. The Uzbek authorities dispute the account of eyewitnesses saying187 people - mainly "terrorists" - died.

Mr Nowak was blunt in his statement on the need to prosecute Mr Almatov: "Torture appears to be used indiscriminately against persons charged with serious crimes such as acts against state interests, as well as petty criminals and others," he said yesterday. Mr Nowak also reminded the German government that all torture victims had a right to legal redress, that torture was subject to universal jurisdiction and that governments were under the obligation to investigate allegations independently of where such acts have occurred.

Berlin has let it be known that Mr Almatov was granted permission to have a life-saving operation in a Hanover cancer clinic. When Mr Almatov's victims filed suit, there was no reaction from the prosecutor and yesterday the German embassy in Tashkent referred queries to the foreign ministry in Berlin who forwarded them back to the prosecutor's office

* An opposition politician was arrested at Tashkent airport yesterday after returning from a trip to Russia where she criticised the Ukbek president, Islam Karimov. Nodira Khidayatova, a senior member of the Sunshine Coalition, was arrested at passport control and taken to the prosecutor's office, her sister said.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 20 May, 2006 06:41 pm
Some classic totalitarian media-speak in these quotes... Shades of that Iraqi Minister of Information, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.

Uzbek media play down anniversary

Saturday, 13 May 2006

On the first anniversary of the killings in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan, the Uzbek broadcast media chose not to devote a great deal of airtime to the events.

Uzbek TV's main news programme in Russian mentioned Andijan about halfway through the bulletin, with a report that focused on the reconstruction of the city, praising government efforts to boost the local economy. [..]

Press backs stability

[..] Political commentator Ibrohim Normatov said in an article in Mohiyat newspaper that, one year on, the government's opponents were in a state of paralysis.

"The malicious ones have raised a hue and cry for one year. They still cannot forgive themselves that the spark of scandal didn't ignite on the national scale," he wrote.

"In their bitterness, they are paralysed... some of them are under the delusion of hoping for another scandal." [..]

Xalq Sozi took a similar line.

"In the past year, beautifying this land required endlessly painstaking efforts," it said. "Andijan's people... have a very strong desire to make their land even more beautiful and demonstrate the pointlessness of the crooked impressions about their city."

A Ferganskaya Pravda report said that work aimed at raising people's awareness was being undertaken in the Fergana Valley in a bid to end extremism.

"The country's leadership is paying special attention to the issues of raising people's spirituality and enlightenment, as well as effectively conducting awareness campaigns among the population," it said.

Servicemen honoured

In Andijan itself, the local TV station reported earlier this month that a ceremony had taken place to honour servicemen killed or injured in last year's events.

"Our people always esteem brave servicemen who protect us from persons undermining the peace, stability and prosperity of our country," the TV said.

"Country with many heroes will never buckle under", said a headline in Mahalla newspaper over an article dedicated to Sanjarbek Mahmudov, a police captain killed in Andijan.

"Sanjarbek could have stayed home that day because he was on sick leave. He would have taken advantage of this if he had been a coward," his father told the paper.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 20 May, 2006 06:53 pm
Uzbekistan: British MPs Watching Blair On Uzbekistan Pledge

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
15 May 2006

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has vowed to "keep up the pressure" on the government in Uzbekistan until it improves its human-rights performance. [..] It was the British Presidency of the EU that pushed through punitive measures in September, including an arms embargo and a visa ban on senior Uzbek officials. [..]

Blair had that record in mind when he told Parliament on May 10 that the United Kingdom would continue to push for concerted action to ease repression in Uzbekistan. [..]

Blair was responding to a question from Alistair Carmichael, a Liberal Democratic Party legislator from Scotland. [..] Carmichael and other MPs from across the political spectrum are banding together to try and keep the spotlight on Uzbekistan -- and on other Central Asian states.

"There is in fact a number of colleagues in all different parties -- in the Labour Party and the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats and the [Scottish] Nationalists -- who are now getting together and who are forming parliamentary action on this," Carmichael says. "We recently held a debate on Central Asian republics in parliament, and we are in fact in the process of forming a group to bring attention to atrocities of this sort." [..]

Even if backers of tougher action won the debate in Brussels, it is unclear how much pressure the West can exert on Tashkent. Karimov has countered Western condemnation so far by aggressively courting Russia and China -- including through multilateral groups like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Uzbek leader has also pursued closer ties with less traditional partners like India.

Members of the U.S. Congress announced on May 9 that they would reintroduce a bill on democracy in Central Asia that considers preventing any U.S. funding to Uzbekistan until there is "considerable progress" on human rights and a "credible international investigation" of Andijon.

MP Carmichael suggests the West could impose commercial and visa sanctions, in addition to freezing it out of international organizations. [..]
0 Replies
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2006 06:23 am
Rights Group Says Uzbek State Journalists Sacked

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
August 1, 2006

[..] Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [..] today reported that several journalists with Uzbekistan's "Pravda Vostoka" official newspaper have been fired for working with nongovernmental media outlets.

RSF says in a statement that the newspaper's editor in chief, Alisher Uslanov, was summoned to the presidential administration last month and asked to dismiss a number of "politically unreliable" reporters, including two women (Jamilya Aipova and Olga Fazylova) who had reportedly contributed articles to the tribune-uz.info information website.

The Russian-language "Pravda Vostoka" is one of Uzbekistan's two official newspapers.

Tribune.uz.info announced its closure on July 4, suggesting the decision was made under government pressure.
0 Replies

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