Uzbek leader Islam Karimov has taken cosmetic steps lately, such as voicing support for probing journalism, to try to put a more human face on his regime. But the true nature of the Uzbek government can be discerned in a treason case against a former military intelligence official.
Lt. Col. Sanjar Ismailov, a 43-year-old former acting head of Uzbek army intelligence, was arrested in late June 2005 and early the following year was convicted on charges of treason, abuse of power and illegal ammunition storage. He was tried in connection to a 2003 incident in which he shared information about Afghan militant groups with the Russian military attaché in Tashkent.
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Marina Kozlova is a freelance journalist focusing on Uzbekistan.