Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary Uzbek government officials continue to dismiss eyewitness reports that soldiers opened fire on civilians during last weeks protests in the eastern town of Andijan.
Not a single civilian was killed by government forces there,? Prosecutor General Rashid Kadyrov said.
Nigara Khidoyatova, head of the Free Peasants party, says her party has compiled a list of 745 people allegedly killed by government troops in Uzbekistan. She stated her party arrived at the number by speaking to relatives of the dead and that the count was continuing. ie she claims to have names and addresses.
Lyndon has some interesting background at Scraps of Moscow. Reuters’ Dmitry Solovyov is reporting that “Uzbekistan’s government on Wednesday took foreign diplomats to the town where witnesses said troops shot dead hundreds of people but did not show them the actual site of the massacre”.
The report contains a useful description of the visit, and of what the diplomats were able to see:
“Heavily armed special forces accompanied the busloads of visitors as they traveled around the deserted town, where the normally bustling tea houses and kebab shops were empty apart from the police and soldiers patrolling them”.
Condoleezza Rice has called on Uzbekistan to open its society. She is quoted as saying:
” Now, as to the latest events that have just taken place, I do think that we — and we would hope that the government of Uzbekistan — would be very open in understanding what has happened there…Nobody is asking any government to deal with terrorists..That’s not the issue. The issue, though, is that it is a society that needs openness, it needs reform.”
Now maybe I am being slow, but I don’t understand this. Where is the openness in Rice’s own statement?