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UN Says Higher Andijon Death Toll Possible

The aftermath of the Andijon crackdown (file photo) 12 July 2005 -- United Nations human rights investigators today reiterated that the death toll from an Uzbek military crackdown in May could be higher by several hundred more people than Uzbek officials say.

A new report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says Uzbek military forces apparently committed "grave human rights violations" in the eastern city of Andijon on 13 May.

Jose Diaz, a spokesman for the high commissioner, today said that the crackdown amounted to "mass killing."

The crackdown in Andijon came after large-scale protests over a court ruling that jailed some 20 people for alleged Islamic extremism.

The Uzbek government says that during the protests, an armed group of Islamic militants raided the jail, freeing prisoners and killing hostages. Government troops were then called in to crush the uprising.

The government says 187 people were killed. The government also says that half of the killed were militants.

Human rights advocates say up to 750 people were killed in the crackdown.


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