Prisoners on trial in the aftermath of the Andijon crackdown (RFE/RL)
June 14, 2006 -- German human rights commissioner Guenther Nooke today criticized the Uzbek government on rights issues.
Speaking after returning from an eight-day visit to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan ,and Turkmenistan, Nooke said Uzbekistan "is on the wrong path as far as organized oppression is concerned."
Nooke met with human rights activists and government officials in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, and also visited a women's prison there.
Human rights groups accuse Uzbek government forces of killing hundreds of mainly unarmed civilian protesters in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005. Human Rights Watch called the Andijon killings a "massacre."
Amnesty International said last month that the regime exploited violence in Andijon to fan fears of Islamic fundamentalism and to justify a clampdown on basic human rights.
WE WERE THERE:
RFE/RL correspondent Gulnoza Saidazimova visited a group Andijon refugees in the Czech town of Straz pod Ralskem and spoke to them about their recollections of the May 2005 violence and their lives since. (Photographs by G. Saidazimova)
ZUHRA, aged 33: "On 13 May, I learned what APCs [armoured personnel carriers] and kalashnikovs were."
MOMINA, aged 29: "I called my parents twice from here. The second time they said: 'We are scared to talk to you. Our neighbor also received a phone call [from a relative who was granted asylum abroad]. Then the police came and beat him up.'"
ODINA, aged 34: "I saw a woman with bullet wound in the back. From behind, we could see her hearting. It was beating. She was begging: 'Call the doctor. I don't want to die.' Later, in Kyrgyzstan, we heard she had died. "
THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.
CHRONOLOGY For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.