RealNews

Uzbek authorities use torture, mass arrests to counter terror attacks

Security officials have responded to recent terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan with a harsh campaign of mass arrests and torture, according to opposition politicians and human rights activists here. Hundreds of people reportedly have been arrested or detained without being charged. Some say they have suffered severe beatings, electric shocks and anal rape with bottles. “There’s a trail of evidence here that’s simply undeniable,” said Allison Gill, the head of the Human Rights Watch office in Tashkent. “Mass arrests are one thing. Torture is another.” The alleged excesses come as the State Department is debating whether Uzbekistan, a strategic U.S. ally in Central Asia, is worthy of continued American aid. A decision is due in the coming weeks. Hanging in the balance is as much as $40 million in direct assistance to the authoritarian regime of President Islam Karimov. The government has blamed Islamist extremists for a series of explosions and suicide attacks that left 48 people dead in Uzbekistan three weeks ago. Police say they have arrested 54 people, including 15 women. Full Story

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