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Uzbek Prosecutors Play Tapes Of Andijon Phone Negotiations

Many dispute the government's casualty figures (AFP) 21 October 2005 -- Prosecutors at the trial of 15 suspects from the May violence in Andijon today played recorded phone negotiations between government officials and protesters.

In the recordings, Interior Minister Zokir Almatov could be heard promising protest leaders that their jailed friends would be released from prison and that they would be permitted safe passage across the border.

A voice said to be that of protest leader Kobiljon Parpiev could then be heard refusing the offer and threatening to march on the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

There was no way to independently verify either voice on the tape.

The Uzbek government says 187 people were killed in Andijon in violence there in May. The government says most of those killed were police, local officials, or people described as "militants."

Rights groups and witnesses say hundreds of people were killed and that most were peaceful protesters demonstrating against the trial of local businessmen facing charges of being Islamic radicals.


For RFE/RL's complete coverage, see the special page: "Aftermath of Andijon"

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