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UN Official Says Torture Still Used In Uzbekistan

Bodies of civillian dead after government forces and protesters clashed in the central square of Andijon, Uzbekistan, on May 14, 2005 (AFP) PRAGUE, April 10, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The UN's special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, has accused Uzbek law enforcement authorities of continuing to use torture.

"I think there is ample evidence that both police and other security forces have been and are continuing to systematically practice torture, in particular against dissidents or people who are opponents of the regime," Nowak told RFE/RL on April 10.

Nowak also questioned how former Uzbek Interior Minister Zakir Almatov was able to obtain medical treatment in Germany last year and return to Uzbekistan.

Almatov served as interior minister during the crackdown in Andijon in May 2005. The UN has said it suspects him of using torture during his term.

Nowak said that, as a signatory to the UN Convention on Torture, Germany should have detained Almatov.