13 September 2004-- The UN special investigator on torture said today that Uzbek authorities have executed at least nine prisoners in the past year despite UN demands for a moratorium on the death penalty in that country.
Special investigator Theo van Boven said in a statement that the executions took place after the UN Committee on Human Rights called on Uzbekistan to suspend executions while it looked into the cases of the condemned prisoners.
Van Boven said the two latest prisoners to be executed argued at their trials that they had been forced under torture to confess to crimes.
In a separate development today, the Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan said a man convicted of terrorism last week might have been tortured to death in prison. Authorities had said the prisoner died of natural causes.