Former Uzbek Interior Minister Almatov (file photo) (official site)
PRAGUE, June 22, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch called today on Germany's new federal prosecutor to reverse a decision not to open a criminal investigation into former Uzbek Interior Minister Zokir Almatov's alleged responsibility for crimes against humanity.
The organization says Germany should not let down Uzbek victims of human rights abuses.
In December 2005, Uzbek victims of torture and survivors of the May 2005 government crackdown in Andijon filed a complaint and called on Germany to investigate Almatov's responsibility in the abuses.
But the former German prosecutor had refused to investigate the case arguing that the likelihood of a successful investigation and prosecution was "nonexistent" since the Uzbek government was unlikely to cooperate.
Human Rights Watch says the decision ignored the availability of hundreds of Uzbek victims and witnesses outside Uzbekistan.
Violence in Andijon, Uzbekistan, on May 14, 2005 (epa)
TALKING ABOUT ANDIJON:
On May 9, 2006, RFE/RL, the National Endowment for Democracy, and U.S.-based human rights organizations cohosted a conference on the May 2005 events in Andijon and their aftermath in Uzbekistan and throughout the region. The first panel featured Andijon eyewitness GALIMA BUKHARBAEVA
, National Endowment for Democracy Fellow NOZIMA KAMALOVA
, RFE/RL Central Asia analyst DANIEL KIMMAGE
, and others. The second panel featured presentations by U.S. Senator JOHN MCCAIN
and U.S. Congressman CHRISTOPHER SMITH
, who used the forum to announce they had introduced legislation calling for sanctions and other measures against the government of President Islam Karimov.
LISTEN Listen to the Andijon conference. Part One (70 minutes):Real Audio Windows MediaPart Two (60 minutes):Real Audio Windows MediaThe Uzbek government's response:Real Audio Windows Media
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.
For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.