Oslo: On May 26 around 50 people parti-cipated in the demonstration against the killings of hundreds of civilians in Usbekistan on May 13. According to media reports, several hundred civilians were killed when Uzbeki troops opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators on the Babur Square of the city in Andijan in the evening of 13 May. The Human Rights House Foundation and the Norwegian Helsinki Committe took part in the demonstration. (27-May-05)
Slogans with “Stop the killings of civilians in Usbekistan ” and “Karimov is a killer” dominated the square in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs May 26. The demonstration was organised by the Usbek Democratic Parti ERK, representatives from the Musavat party in Aserbaijan and the the Assembly of Turkish Culture Der holdt de appeller under temaet Stopp drapet på ¢efolkningen i Usbekistan!
– According to our view, no responsible state authorities can accept such events to happen without consequently ensuring that genuine investigations take place, Gunnar Karlsen from the Norwegain Helsinki Committee stated in his appeal.
-Since Uzbek state structures are strongly involved in the events, there should be a strong international component of these investigations the Norwegain Helsinki Commitee underlined in a statement sent to President Karimov. The Usbek opposition leader Mr. Muhammend Salih hold an appeal. Before the demonstration the Mr. Salih and other representative from the Usbek community met with representatives from the Norwegian Parliament and ask them to appeal to the Usbeki authorities and condemn the violations of human rights. Ane Bonde and Berit Lindeman discuss the situation with Muhammed Salih.
Background from Amnesty International
During the night of 12-13 May 2005, a group of unidentified armed men broke into the jail of the city of Andizhan, reportedly freeing everyone inside – an estimated 1,200 men. Later in the day soldiers were reported to have surrounded a crowd of several thousand protestors on the city?s main square, demanding justice, freedom and an end to poverty. There were reports that gunfire was exchanged between armed men and soldiers and shots were apparently fired into the crowd. Reports as to what triggered the events in Andizhan are confusing but may have been linked to the trial of 23 local businessmen accused of “Islamic extremism”. For the last week up to a thousand relatives and supporters of the 23 men, who deny any connection to banned Islamic groups, have held unprecedented peaceful sit-down vigils outside the court building to protest the men?s innocence and denounce the torture they allegedly suffered.