On Fifth Anniversary, Karimov Persecuting Andijan Relatives
Five years after Uzbek security forces killed hundreds of protestors in the Ferghana Valley town of Andijan, President Islam Karimov's government is persecuting the victim's relatives, says Human Rights Watch.
Is Karimov afraid of Kyrgyz instability spilling over the border? It sure looks that way. Andijan is only 50 kilometers from Osh, Kyrgyzstan, the scene of ethnic tensions in recent weeks.
New research by Human Rights Watch reveals that the Uzbek government continues to intimidate and harass the families of Andijan survivors who have sought refuge abroad. The police regularly summon them for questioning, subject them to constant surveillance, and threaten to bring criminal charges against them or confiscate their homes. School officials humiliate refugees' children. Five years after the massacre, on May 13, 2005, people suspected of having participated in or witnessed the massacre are still being detained, beaten, and threatened. The sentencing on April 30 of Diloram Abdukodirova, an Andijan refugee who returned to Uzbekistan in January, to 10 years and two months in prison, shows the lengths to which the government will go to persecute anyone it perceives as linked to the Andijan events.
"Instead of ensuring justice for the victims of Andijan, the Uzbek government persecutes anyone associated with the protesters," said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "There is a climate of fear in Andijan that is still palpable five years after the atrocities."
The Andijan massacre occurred only months after Kyrgyzstan's so-called Tulip Revolution. Some speculate the event inspired the Andijan protesters. As we reported yesterday, the border with Uzbekistan has remained closed since last month's uprising in Kyrgyzstan.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.
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