Amid the release of a report detailing the widespread and systematic use of torture in Uzbekistan, the US Defense Department may make a major donation to Tashkent’s security establishment. Under the plan currently being considered, Uzbekistan would obtain equipment that the Pentagon deems redundant or outdated for use by the American military.
The legality of giving Uzbekistan the equipment, categorized as Excess Defense Articles (EDA), seems sketchy. According to Section 7076 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Act 2009, Uzbekistan would be eligible for EDA only if Tashkent makes "substantial and continuing progress" in a variety of areas, including "respect for internationally recognized human rights, establishing a genuine multi-party system, and ensuring free and fair elections, freedom of expression, and the independence of the media."
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.