Nov 102010
 


andijan-refugees-speak-out

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ANDIJAN REFUGEES SPEAK OUT
Bahtiyor Muhtarov,
“Andijan – Adolat va Tiklanish”,
bahtiyormuhtarov@gmail.com
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Table of Contents
GLOSSARY …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
BLOODBATH. RECONSTRUCTION OF EVENTS 13-14 MAY 2005 ……………………………………………… 4
SCALE OF CASUALTIES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
TIMELINE OF EVENTS …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
IN THE TRAP……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
“VOROSHILOV RIFLEMEN” ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11
THE TRAGEDY CONTINUES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
OPERATION “FILTERING” ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
RELATIVES AND RETURNEES – AT GUNPOINT ……………………………………………………………………………………. 16
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
APPENDICES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 18
APPENDIX 1. EXCERPTS FROM INTERVIEWS ……………………………………………………………………………………… 18
APPENDIX 2. LIST OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE DISAPPEARED …………………………………………………………….. 30
APPENDIX 3. LIST OF INDIVIDUALS, WHO DIED FROM TORTURE WHILE UNDER INVESTIGATION OR DURING IMPRISONMENT AND WHOSE CORPSES WERE RETURNED TO THEIR RELATIVES ……………………………………….. 31
APPENDIX 4. DETAILS ABOUT SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS WHOSE CORPSES WERE RETURNED TO THEIR RELATIVES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 32
APPENDIX 5. LIST OF PARTICIPANTS AND WITNESSES TO THE EVENTS OF 13 AND 14 MAY, WHO ARE CURRENTLY IMPRISONED ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 36
APPENDIX 7. ABOUT THE AUTHOR ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 42
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Glossary
Babur – national poet who lived in the 16th Century, full name Zakhir-al-Din, founder of the Mughal dynasty
APC/??? – armored personnel carrier/????????????????
ZIL/??? – brand of a cargo truck
Makhalla – neighborhood, traditional Uzbek residential quarter, community
Sangorod – central prison hospital in Tashkent city
SNB – National Security Service
Technical College – secondary specialized school, college
UVD – regional department of internal affairs
URAL – brand of a cargo truck
UAZ – passenger vehicle similar to a jeep
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Introduction
On May 13, 2005, Uzbek government troops opened fire against thousands of demonstrators who protested against the unfair trial of their fellow-citizens, 23 local businessmen who were well known among the local population for their charitable activities. The authorities charged them with allegations of Islamic extremism and conspiracy. The demonstrators expressed the wish to speak with their President, Islam Karimov, to discuss their plight; but in return they only received gunfire and bullets. Hundreds died instantly; among them, the elderly, women, and children. About five hundred escaped a deadly fate by running across the border to neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, awaiting relocation after some time to a number of Western countries which offered them asylum. Some left behind their homes, their spouses, their children. For some time, having experienced trauma, and fearing for the lives and well-being of their loved ones that they left behind, many Andijan refugees were wary of speaking publicly about their experience and of their attitudes toward the Uzbek regime. Some even decided to return to their country to rejoin their families. But others have decided to remain in exile and break their silence. A number of them have decided to engage in public actions and bear witness aloud, having realized that by merely speaking the truth, they can genuinely help their country, and hence, their relatives, friends, and hometown, recover freedom from tyranny.
We, a group of refugees from Andijan, have established our own organization “Andijan – Adolat va Tiklanish,” which is translated as “Andijan – Justice and Revival.” We believe that justice consists of, first and foremost, establishing the truth. Without this, there cannot be a revival of the country. Therefore, we have decided to reconstruct a fuller picture of what took place on May 13th and after. In doing so, we can only begin through a study of those who managed to escape the massacres perpetrated by the Uzbekistan government in May 2005. To date, we have interviewed 220 people, mainly those refugees from Andijan who are currently living in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Holland, and other European countries. Interviews were conducted mostly by telephone or Skype. In some rare cases, we were able to interview the subject in person face-to-face. The investigation is still ongoing, but this briefing provides the main results obtained to date.
Bloodbath. Reconstruction of Events 13-14 May 2005
Scale of casualties
According to the results of the interviews, we managed to document a death toll of more than 500 persons who died as a result of government troops shooting at civilians in Andijan. However, this figure is not yet final and is subject to revision over the course of further investigation. It should be noted that according to many witnesses who were present on 13 May 2005 on Babur Square at the demonstration, it is difficult to recover all of the details of what transpired at that time, due to the fact that they were in a state of shock.
According to the testimony of the respondents, broad public dissatisfaction with government policy was the reason why on 13 May 2005, people gathered for a demonstration to protest the unfair trial against their brothers, 23 businessmen from
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Andijan, as well as unfair living conditions and harassment from the authorities. In response to the demonstration, government troops, without warning, opened fire with automatic weapons from heavy artillery mounted on the turrets of armored personnel carriers (APCs), as well as with sniper rifles. Many of the witnesses said that they saw armed men in military camouflage on the roofs and upper floors of buildings surrounding the square. Furthermore, according to several eyewitnesses to the events, many of the victims had bullet wounds to the head, which confirms the use of snipers to shoot at the demonstrators. All of the witnesses that we interviewed agreed that on there was a large number of women and children on the square. This is shown in the photographs currently available in mass media archives. They too confirm that the people in army uniform and in masks absolutely did not react to the cries for help and that they shot at and killed women and children. They fired indiscriminately at everyone.
Nevertheless, the investigation was able to reconstruct all of the major episodes of the events and assess the scale of killings in each of them. The investigation showed that the largest number of casualties was on Chulpon Avenue, where the troops cornered the demonstrators. This operation is described in the section “In the Trap.” According to our estimates, at least 400 people perished there. During the other episodes, similar numbers of people perished. Here are the main episodes in which people perished:
– Demonstration on Babur Square – approximately 30-40 people perished
– Passage along Chulpon Avenue – approximately 400 people perished
– Shooting in the village Teshiktash – approximately 30-40 people perished
– In the course of investigation and imprisonment – according to our data, and taking into account several missing persons, at least 25 people
In addition, according to our data, 241 people were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment and are being subject to torture and abuse in detention.
These figures should also take into account the data of the Association “Human Rights in Central Asia,” received from a doctor who worked in the Andijan city morgue in 2006. He showed that during the time of his work under the supervision of the SNB, many corpses that bore traces of torture and shots to the head came through the morgue. We have not had the possibility to confirm this information ourselves. However, this does draw attention to one fact: the SNB and interior affairs used medical facilities for their own purposes. Our witnesses told us that the regional hospital was converted in May 2005 into a detention facility, and therefore, a place for conducting interrogations using torture and for extrajudicial executions – which is a typical practice among Uzbekistan’s law enforcement agencies. There are several reports that the corpses of the victims of torture and extrajudicial executions were brought to their families and relatives accompanied by police officers who forbade the families to examine the corpses or even to bathe them according to the Muslim traditional rites. This likely meant that the police authorities had something to hide from their families and from the society at large.
Timeline of events
To date, the most complete and accurate timeline of events of 13 May is given by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the report “’Bullets Were Falling Like Rain’: The Andijan Massacre, May 13, 2005.” 1 Our research largely confirms the description in the report,
1 http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/uzbekistan0605/
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therefore we focused on identifying additional details. The main difference with the Human Rights Watch report is that its research was undertaken shortly after the event, while our study was conducted after five years. This is what our interviews have shown:
Approximately 7:00 – 8:00 am, 13 May 2005, on Babur Square, directly across from the monument to the great medieval poet, over 600 people gathered. Among them were the wives, relatives, and friends of the 23 businessmen who were on trial.
Around the same time, a large truck, possibly a ZIL, drove by at high speed from the Medical College on Komil Yashin Street, with a closed trunk. From behind the truck, a man, dressed in military camouflages, fired his automatic indiscriminately on the crowd. The fire was not aimed anywhere. Perhaps this is why many potential victims were able to flee. One or two people were killed and several were slightly injured – among them was a youth, about 10 – 12 years old.
At approximately 8:00 – 9:00 am, a UAZ police vehicle approached at the same speed from the same place. When the vehicle approached the square, from inside they began randomly shooting automatic weapons at the people surrounding it, and then the vehicle abruptly turned right towards Cholguzar Street. There, stumbling on a barricade, the vehicle stalled and about 3 or 4 people in military camouflage uniforms jumped out. They were carrying automatic weapons which they used to start firing on the crowd. Several men on the square also had their own arms on them, which they used to return fire. As a result of this incident, at least 5 people died, including one child age 5 to 7, as well as a youth age 12 to 15. One of the attackers was killed by the some demonstrators, while the second (who shot the child) was disarmed and for his own protection from a lynch mob, was isolated in the nearby administrative building. The fate of the attackers remains unknown.
There were at least two more similar attempts to attack the demonstrators. Emotions ran high with the growing dissatisfaction among the demonstrators, the number of which reached, according to my estimation, over twenty thousand people. Around 17:00, from the SNB building, along Navoii Avenue, in the direction of the Chulpon Movie Theater, two military vehicles drove past at high speeds , first an armed personnel carrier (APC), and behind it, a military truck, likely an URAL type, with an open top and a canvas cover. They passed each other with a 10 – 15 second interval between them. There was intense fire from the military vehicles on the demonstrators from automatic weapons.
Several minutes later, the same two cars drove by again, but this time in the other direction, shooting at everyone they passed. According to witnesses, the shooting was coming from the side hatches of the APCs as well as the military truck, in which one could see armed men in military fatigues and helmets, with some of them wearing black masks. The truck was equipped with a protective barrier of bags (possibly containing sand). According to our estimates, as a result of these two attacks, at least 20 people were killed. We do not know how many were injured. There were women and children among those killed.
After that, people who were on the square gathered into two big convoys. The first of which, which contained approximately one thousand people, far ahead of the second convoy, walked towards Navoii Avenue, further along Chulpon Avenue, in the direction of the Chulpon Movie Theater. Walking past the movie theater, this convoy was subject to a shooting massacre. This took place along the way from School No. 15 and the Andijan Civil Engineering Technical School. Our investigation has shown that most of the killings took place here. We have interviewed four witnesses from this convoy, who have miraculously survived and have uniformly confirmed that only a few managed to escape
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unharmed, while the rest were left lying in the middle of the road. This is an excerpt from one of the survivors’ interviews.
I managed to reach the tree unharmed, and after that I already began to watch the scene in front of me. From behind the tree, I looked in the direction where the shooting was coming from. I saw an APC which was moving towards the sidewalk, where I saw, at least 30 people (men who managed to cross to the direction of the sidewalk). There along the road, there were many large trees that served to give people cover from the fire which was coming from the APC. The military on the APC, which drove onto the sidewalk, began to shoot along the sidewalk, so that everyone who was there was killed in front of my eyes. The bullets hit both those lying down as well as those running away. The thunder from the shots was such that everything shook. They fired practically without stop. Only machine guns could shoot like this. Branches as thick as my wrist fell from the trees from the shots.
A guy age 20-25 stood on the sidewalk. He was wearing a suit and a white shirt. When he was shot, he fell face first onto the ground, and a puddle of blood formed under him. He stopped moving. Also, a man about age 40 – 45 in a white shirt was on all fours. With one hand, he covered the shot to his chest, and with the other, was leaning on the ground. He tried to crawl to the sidewalk fence, which was only about one meter away from him. Reaching the fence, he leaned on it and sat down, his legs stretched out on the asphalt. He covered up the bleeding wound on his chest and paid absolutely no attention to what was happening around him. Approximately three meters away from me, a wounded man about 40-45 years old, whose pants were down to his knees, was slowly crawling on all fours. He tried to lift up his pants, but he couldn’t. As I later understood, a bullet had hit him around his middle – and broke his belt. With me, behind the tree, was a boy aged 12 – 14, hiding and was dumbstruck with fear. The entire time we were there, I watched his movements so that he wouldn’t get in the way of the cross-fire. Behind nearly every tree there were at least 2 or 3 people just like us. I heard the tree shake each time it was hit by a bullet.
The APC then moved back to its earlier place on the road and continued to shoot at people lying in the middle of the road. It was possible to see ignited bullets flying from the APC. I saw how bodies would shake when hit by a bullet. Almost the entire road was filled with people lying down, and how only on the edge of the road, was a shoulder dislocated from a body. I saw a wounded man about 35 years old approximately 3 – 4 meters away from me, who, away from the mass of people, carefully somersaulted in the direction of the ditch, where it was possible to escape the bullets. After each flip, he lay still, and by the time there was literally only half a meter away from the ditch, a sniper overtook him with a bullet. I saw how he shook from the bullet, and how a pool of blood formed under him. He didn’t move any more.
In front of me, amidst the general mass of people, lay a wounded man, who it seemed to me at the time could not bear the pain and began to shout, “Don’t Shoot!” After several seconds, he was shot in the head by two bullets, first one, and immediately after it, another. After this, his head split into two, the way a watermelon splits in half. I tried to keep myself under control, because one could go crazy from seeing such things.
(S.I., Sweden)2
According to available data, as a result of the shooting at this first convoy, at least 300 people were killed. But, taking into account that the convoy consisted of about one thousand people, the death toll could be much higher, since it was only a very few who managed to escape from the massacre.
2 The names of the interviewees are not disclosed in this report due to the safely of their relatives left in Uzbekistan.
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If we add to this the testimony of the witnesses that the convoy was fired at from a heavy machine gun mounted on the APC, then it is not difficult to imagine what was happening with people lying on top of each other in the middle of the road. Another observation made by one of the interviewees — he claims that he saw how after the shooting, the APC drove down the street covered with bodies, driving over the bodies, including those that might have still been of people who were still alive.
The second convoy, numbering over one thousand people, came in after the first after five-ten minutes. In contrast to the first convoy, the second went its way with relatively fewer casualties. When the convoy arrived at the Chulpon Movie Theater, it was fired at with automatic weapons. The more massive firing at the convoy of demonstrators took place at the building “Dom Svyazi” (a tall building about seven stories high). According to witnesses, there was shooting from this very building, from rooms on the third floor, as well as from the two-story building across the street. At the very beginning of the way, women and children were placed in the middle of the convoy to protect them from being shot at. During the attack at the crossroads at the Chulpon Movie Theater, a large part of the people in this convoy ran away to the right and left sides of the road. Another part remained lying on the asphalt right in the middle of the road. After approximately five minutes, when the shooting died down a bit, people once again gathered and continued to move down the avenue in the direction of the Chulpon Movie Theater. We have testimony of about 10 deaths from the second convoy on this stretch of the road. However, the number of fatalities was obviously a lot more. Unfortunately, the witnesses we spoke with were not always able to recall many of the episodes and details of what took place. They attributed this to the fact that they were in a state of shock and only thought about survival.
Reaching the Chulpon Movie Theater, this convoy again was subject to a massive bombardment, but this time the shots were not only fired from machine guns. Witnesses say that they heard gunshots from automatic weapons, the sounds of which were even more powerful than the previous ones. It is possible that this is a confirmation that the military used a massive caliber machine gun mounted on the tower of the APC against the crowds of demonstrators. According to our data, in this stretch, at least 15 more people were killed, including one woman. Those who survived left Chulpon Avenue on the right side, and passed through residential areas along the narrow streets, heading towards the border with the neighboring Kyrgyz Republic. According to witnesses who told us about what happened with the second convoy, there were more. Here is one indication:
… we gathered into the convoy of approximately 600-700 people3 and moved in the direction of Chulpon Avenue. There were mostly men and boys, some of whom had not even reached adulthood. When we reached the Andijan Civil Engineering Technical College, we saw that between Chulpon Avenue and Bukhara Street4, where the streets intersect, there was a military vehicle URAL and two APCs. Upon seeing this, we immediately stopped. At this point, the military heard the cries. Between the military and us there was about 100 meters. We didn’t even have time to figure out what they wanted as the military began firing directly at us. As a result of the fire, those in the front of the convoy, approximately 40-50 people were immediately killed or critically injured. The rest managed to bend down and fall to the ground. The shooting lasted for about two hours, until dark. The military fired until they had nothing left in sight. That day, the lights on the streets were out. Even in the homes, the lights were out. After the firing stopped, about one hundred people crawled through the corpses on
3 Estimations of the numbers in this convoy differ from about 600-700 persons to about 1000. Certainly these estimations are approximate, that is, no one actually counted the number of people.
4 Old name for Kosimov Street.
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the roadside in the direction of the Technical College. The military again began to fire in that direction. From there, one could hear the cries of the wounded and of those crying for help. Once out on the edge of the road, they, myself included, took turns crawling under the gate of the fence, on the grounds of the Technical College. The gates were shut. In the yard, I was left with about 15 people in order to provide help to some of the others who were wounded. Finding the wounded, we dragged them to the doors of the Technical College, from which others helped bring them into the building of the Technical College. Moving the wounded, I had found in the bushes my cousin Iskhak Kadirov, who was wounded in the leg. I helped him move into the building of the College. Having collected all the wounded, we once again, in order to check, called out “is there anyone else who is still alive?” But no one answered. We found about 20-25 people like this. We washed the wounds of all the wounded, we found blankets inside the building and covered the wounded with them. Meanwhile, from the direction of the administration building we could hear the sounds of military vehicles approaching the direction of Soi Guzar (at the end of the Chulpon Avenue). And then we saw from the edge of the door of the Technical College two APCs which stopped at the many corpses, lighting up the roads with its headlights. We saw a terrible sight. The APCs drove right over the corpses lying in the road, in the direction of Soi Guzar. I, along with several other people, climbed over the wall in the courtyard of the Technical College towards the makhalla. From there, I crossed the Komsomolsky lake and made my way home to Buston district.
(D.K., Finland)
In this second convoy, there were about 150 women, one of them in the fifth month of pregnancy, and about 20 small children, some of them with injuries. During the night, this convoy went a distance of over 25 kilometers on foot to the border.
After 10 hours of walking, in the early morning, at about 6:00am, 14 May 2005, they arrived in the border village of Teshiktash, where they were ambushed by the Uzbek military. From a distance of roughly 150 meters from them, the Uzbek military opened fire on them with automatic weapons. Witnesses say that they saw men dressed in military fatigues with guns in their hands, from which they fired at the convoy of people. After about 10 minutes of intense fire, the military quickly boarded their truck, which then quickly drove away from the border. According to witness testimony, as a result of the firing in this area, 3 women and 4 men were killed. There were many injured, however, unfortunately, we only have information from witnesses about 4 of the injured, two of whom were later taken to the hospital where they died from their wounds or for other reasons. Witnesses say that during the firing at the convoy by the military, people lying in the middle of the road repeatedly begged the military to stop shooting and waved white handkerchiefs, to which the military had absolutely no reaction.
Furthermore, the survivors managed to cross into the territory of Kyrgyzstan, where they received shelter until they were resettled in other countries.
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Map of the scene of the events 13 May 2005 in Andijan
In the trap
Many witnesses say that starting at noon on 13 May, government troops began an operation to surround and block exit from Bobur square, where the demonstrations took place. Several participants, even before 17:00, were trying to return home, but found that almost all streets surrounding the square, that is, Navoii Avenue, Komil Yashin Street, Kizil Bayrok Street, were blocked with APCs and troops. Upon approaching them, soldiers began firing without giving participants in the demonstration the chance to disperse. Only Chulpon Avenue remained open, and judging by how the troops moved, the demonstrators seemed to have pushed it to this avenue. But even there, at a certain distance, the demonstrators expected fire from the APCs, soldiers, and snipers. Thus, the tactics of the
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government forces seemed to be to eject the demonstrators onto Chulpon Avenue, where they then would be massacred. It became clear that the task handed down from the leadership of the operation was the massacre of all of the participants of the demonstration, and not merely in breaking up the demonstration. This is the conclusion that the participants in the events have come to.
Here is one of the most characteristic observations of one of the participants in the events:
… I want to bring your attention to the fact that if the government simply wanted to disperse the protestors, then why did it need to surround and block the square from all sides so that no one could get out of there? I’m certain the government, from the very outset had decided to destroy all of these people who were out on the square. When from the APCs began to point blank shoot at the crowd, I, like many others, decided to leave the square and go home. But this was hard to do because all the streets were blocked with APCs. I tried to get out via Komil Yashin Avenue. But when the APCs were only 200-300 meters away, the soldiers opened fire without any warning. I lay on the ground and began to crawl back.
(I., USA)
Therefore, we can speak of a carefully planned operation by the government’s armed forces, whose main objective was a massive attack on the demonstrators, regardless of whether they were the organizers or simply passive participants. They massacred everyone making no distinction between men, women, or children. This was such a turn of events that few people had expected. Most genuinely had hoped that the leadership would send people to negotiate, and in the worst case scenario, crack down on the demonstration. But no one expected that there would be a tactically planned out and well-calculated massacre of all of the demonstration participants indiscriminately. Many, naively hoping that the president would come to listen to them, came to the square with their children, and then paid for their naiveté with the lives of their loved ones. This is what one participant had to say:
13 May 2005, after hearing that President Karimov was coming to Babur square, I went out with my five children to the square. There were a lot of people there. Because so many people suffer from emotional and financial problems. People wanted to complain to the president about unemployment, lack of money for medical treatment, unfair officials, corruption, and about many other things. However, no one came to hear the protests of the people. Instead, they shot at us from military vehicles. Then, in the crowd on the square, they reported that a 13 year old boy was killed. After that, there was severe fire. From this unexpected turn of events, I was overwhelmed, and with my children, stuck to the crowd and ran in the direction of Chulpon Avenue. There were so many people. My children clung to me from five sides, crying loudly. To shoot at women in cold blood – I had never seen, nor heard, or even read about such a thing.
(R.M., , Australia)
“Voroshilov Riflemen”
Ample evidence suggests that the operations to massacre the demonstrators were widely employed by the snipers. Basically, they were arranged in advance, taking their positions on Chulpon Avenue on the roofs of private homes and on several floors of the multi-story buildings, and even in trees. The snipers were apparently aiming at peoples’ heads because the witnesses often spoke about wounds to the head or around the head. The objective of the snipers was obviously not to allow the demonstrators the possibility of leaving the street
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and into the yard of the buildings on the sides of Chulpon Avenue. These are some typical observations.
When we went out to the avenue, in front of the building near the Technical College, there were APCs. And on both sides of the street, on the roofs of the houses, there were soldiers and snipers standing. On all sides, they began firing at the convoy of unarmed people. Then we all lay on the ground, and with each passing moment, the number of the dead grew more and more.
(I., USA)
… Most of the people caught bullets in their heads, and it was clear that this had to be the work of snipers who carried out their work in cold blood. Already it was nearly dark outside and we were all lying down. I was afraid to even move, because snipers hit without a miss any of those who moved. Among the shouting, I could recognize the voice of my uncle Azimov Avazbek Kholdarovich, who was born in 1968, as well as the voice of another relative, Mamadkhanov Muzzafar, born in 1961, who were wounded and were asking for someone to help them get out, but I could do nothing to help them. When I lifted my head, I saw a lying, dead person, from whom, in his stomach, something lit up, glowing a bright fire and sparks, and this continued for several seconds. It was a bullet that entered the man, and which continued to burn. A few hours earlier, I had seen a similar sight when one of those bullets hit the wall of School No. 30. The rain was falling and gradually the voices of the people subsided and fell silent it was somewhere between 23:00 and 24:00, and it was dark. I saw an open door at School No. 15 and I decided to try to get in there. To do this, I had to run a few meters over the corpses. I jumped up and ran crouching, and behind me there were another 3 or 4 people following me. Again, the shooting began. Just as I ran through the corpses, I fell onto the ground right into the puddle. Those people who followed me continued to run. At first a bullet hit the man who was fleeing in front of me, he fell down and never moved. The second person was hit right in front of the door of the school; he fell down already into the school yard, and also didn’t move any longer. They shot the third just as he moved through the gate of the school. He fell from the gate and fell with a crash to the ground. Perhaps in the darkness he didn’t see that the door was open and decided to climb through the gate. I managed to crawl to the door and enter the schoolyard.
(A.A., Sweden)
The use of snipers, that is, that took their positions before the time that crowds of demonstrators walked along Chulpon Avenue, again speaks of a pre-planned operation to attack the demonstrators. The snipers seemed to have been carefully instructed by their army leadership.
The tragedy continues
Operation “Filtering”
After the events of 13 and 14 May 2005, the authorities of Uzbekistan have carried out a widespread and systematic “sweep” operation. If the task of the government troops during the 13th and 14th of May was to surround and massacre the demonstrators using military grade weapons and heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov and sniper rifles, then after the events, the goal remained the same, but the methods and tools were different. Judging by the logic of the authorities, they assigned tasks to identify and neutralize all participants of
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the rally, whether they were active or passive participants, and witnesses of the bloody massacre by the troops.
The method of identifying participants of the events resembles the “snowball” method:
? Block the escape of refugees into neighboring Kyrgyzstan;
? Arrest those who are trying to escape;
? Arrest as many members as possible of the community of the village Bogi Shamol, the residence and business place of the 23 businessmen and their relatives and associates;
? Detain all persons who were injured on the 13th and 14th of May, and to consider them as de facto active participants;
? And then, using interrogation and torture, to identify other participants.
The investigative authorities received carte blanche from the country’s leadership and law enforcement agencies to use any means necessary to get information, down to the most severe torture in order to identify all participants and witnesses. In this case, it was not taken into account whether those arrested were passive onlookers who happened to be on Bobur Square solely out of curiosity. Anyone who was out on the square was considered by definition as subject for neutralization. According to some witnesses, law enforcement officials themselves admitted that they had received permission from their leadership to take advantage of any means necessary, including extrajudicial executions. This is what one of the men who was in the custody of the security agencies witnessed:
We and several others were called and brought into a room where we were ordered to strip naked. We undressed. Healthy guys in military uniform began cursing and insulting everyone. They had rubber truncheons. They beat us harshly, not giving us a chance to even raise our heads. They ordered us not to look back, but just to look only at the floor. We stood there naked and they took turns beating us with truncheons and kicks. They would put a gun to our temples and threaten to shoot. They said that they had permission from their superiors to shoot us.
(O., a witness in the case of Giyosiddin Umarov, who was killed in prison due to torture)
As a result of this plan, with orders coming from above, probably from the country’s president, during these investigations there flourished the most extensive use of sophisticated torture. Uzbek law enforcement bodies have always been distinguished for their particular cruelty and penchant for torture of suspects and detainees. But during the investigation of the Andijan events, the practice of torture had gone so far that it is worthy of comparison with the practices of the Nazi Gestapo.
Naturally, the object of the investigation was the population of the city of Andijan. Policemen called this process “filtering.” How this works: they take a person they suspect, bring him to the UVD (Regional Department of Internal Affairs) or to the SNB (National Security Service), where he is tortured, and psychologists with a broad experience of working in interrogations work with them. Later, he is arrested or released, or transferred to a prison, or they torture him to death and send his body to the morgue.
We have witnesses who have passed through this “filtering” and who claim the following: those arrested were systematically brought to the buses. Basements and warehouse premises of police departments were filled with people who were arrested. Due to a lack of spaces, the arrested even slept in a prison truck, 20 people in each. Due to lack of
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handcuffs, the hands of the arrested were tied with shoelaces removed from their very own shoes.
The cases of some of the arrested were brought to the courts. According to data from Human Rights Watch as many as 245 people were prosecuted and convicted during the time from September 2005 to January 2006.5 Only 15 of the trials were open courts, and the 230 remaining were in closed courts with gross violations of the Criminal Procedural Code and international standards of justice.
We have data for only about 241 of those prosecuted, who to date are still in prison (See the list of convicts in Appendix 5). The terms of imprisonment range from 5 to 21 years. At this time, almost all of them are serving time in prison. Those who have finished serving their sentences have found their sentences extended under various pretexts, for example, for violation of the prison regime. In prison slang, such an extension of a sentence is called a “promotion.”
In addition to those whose cases were brought to court, there were a certain number of those arrested whose fates are not known. We have information of 15 missing (see list in Annex 2). And this is not a final number; to determine the real extent is very difficult, as the population of Andijan has been intimidated, and many are afraid not only to testify, but even to talk on the telephone. Those who in the first days after the events were too open or frank paid either with their freedom or with their lives.
A widely known case was of the mysterious death of a local resident of the village Bogi Shamol. He witnessed the secret mass graves of the victims of the shooting, in which the dead were buried in violation of Muslim burial rites. After witnessing the burial, he began to talk about it to his neighbors. After some time he was found murdered by knifing. Local residents are certain that Djuraboy (that was his name) was killed by SNB officers. This was spoken about in the refugee camp by those who were neighbors of this man in Andijan. This case was also reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Ozodlik (the Uzbek language service of Radio Liberty). (see story Nadjmiddin in Appendix 1).
There is another category of individuals who were arrested after the May events. These are the ones who died in detention due to torture. We know of nine cases so far, when the police returned the body to the relatives (see Appendices 3 and 4). In some cases, the bodies had multiple inflicted wounds. Here are several of them.
1. Large number of bruises on the body.
2. Open and closed fractures of the limbs and ribs.
3. Set of bruises around the ears, nose, and mouth.
4. Some had many cuts and stab wounds.
5. Removed nails on the fingers and toes.
6. Some male corpses were badly mangled or were completely missing their sexual organs.
7. There were many cases when the corpse had several bullet wounds.
As an example, I would like to present an excerpt from the story of one of the witnesses. His mother had been wounded the following morning after the Andijan events at the border village of Teshiktash.
5 The Andijan Massacre: One year later, still no justice. Human Rights Watch, 2006, http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/uzbekistan0506/
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On 14 May 2005 after my mother was wounded, she was brought to the district hospital of the Djalakuduk village. After that, as directed by the staff of the Internal Affairs Department, they transported her to a regional hospital in Andijan City. In those days, the regional hospital was under the control of the Andijan branch of the National Security Services and was actually turned into a detention facility. From the 14th of May to 22 July, my mother was also there. Members of our family were at first not permitted to visit her. But after putting in requests three or four times, they let them see her. My mother was constantly interrogated. I found out about this from my wife, who remained in Uzbekistan and who managed to see and speak to my mother. My mother told her that the wounded had only two choices.
The first choice was that they give false testimony that their children and relatives were at fault for the events of the massacres on 13 May. Those who would obey and bear false testimony, they promised, they wouldn’t kill them through torture. Otherwise, and this is the second choice, the wounded were promised a painful death.
On 21 July 2005 ?my wife was allowed to meet with my mother and when they were together, my mother told her about this. She said: “I have no strength to endure all this. Tell my son this, when you see him, so that he will not blame me his whole life that I myself wrote that my son is a terrorist and extremist.” After that she was taken to prison UYA-64/T1, located in Andijan City.
The next day, on 22 July 2005 her body was brought home accompanied by two nurses and several policemen. They demanded that we bury the body as soon as possible and not to invite many people to the funeral. At that time, my wife asked that they give her one more chance to look at mother and say farewell. When they saw her face, they saw that there were signs of injuries around the mouth, signs of bleeding. That’s right; they killed my mother through torture and pain. Apparently, she did not discredit me, deciding to leave into the light with a clear conscience.
(S.A., Sweden)
In some cases, the torture is not immediately fatal, but as a result lead to desroying the health of prisoners, as well as to causing serious illness. In such cases, the patients would be denied proper care and treatment. Such was the tragic fate of Giyosiddin Umarov, who died in September 2010 as a result of this kind of torture, abuse, and denial of treatment, and this is a powerful testimony to the fact that the tragedy in Andijan is far from over. It continues in various forms, including:
? Prisons filled with hundreds of detainees that include demonstrators and witnesses to the carnage, torture, and abuse of them,
? Refusal of exit visas to the families of refugees who were outside of Uzbekistan’s borders,
? Continued discrimination in the country against the relatives of refugees.
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Relatives and returnees – at gunpoint
We recorded the facts, when the relatives of refugees who managed to obtain asylum in the West, were often still called in, to this day, for questioning, in which they were abused and humiliated in every way, regardless of whether they were a woman or a man. They are constantly put under pressure, threatened with death in the case of the slightest disobedience to the demands of the public officials. It has become the norm to be without a lawyer, which, by law, is supposed to be present at a questioning or interrogation, and who is supposed to be provided for free.
At the time one is called in for questioning, people are forced to sit in the corridors, waiting for hours for the investigator. And often after 3 to 4 hours of a grueling wait, they announce without any apology that the questioning will be postponed until the next day. They are forced to sign various documents that they are themselves “voluntarily” cutting back on their freedom and are requesting punishment, should they not live up to their word. They also have to give all sorts of explanations in which they ask forgiveness for some or other deed which they did not commit.
The authorities are also involved through neighborhood (makhalla) committees, schools, and other institutions, forcing people to face humiliation, defamation, public shaming, and discrimination – particularly those who are relatives of those killed during the May events, or relatives of those who have been convicted, or who had fled the country. Makhalla committees hold meetings, in which they publically condemn these families. Also, teachers publically shame the children of the victims of the Andijan events.
It is also worth mentioning the fact that the Government of Uzbekistan prevents the unification of families, which have already been separated for five years. The government refuses to issue exit permits to leave the country (the exit visa is a practice that limits the freedom of movement and has been in existence since the Soviet era), as if they were convicts. Thus, women, wives, and mothers of Andijan refugees who have tried to get permission to leave the country, are denied this right in an open, coarse, and insulting manner.
As it is known, part of the refugees, numbering 70 people (among them 21 women and 47 men) could not withstand the separation from their families and returned back home to Uzbekistan. Following their return to Uzbekistan, the first thing that they were forced to do was to apologize for crimes that they did not commit. Moreover, these public apologies were broadcast on television and published in the local press. The men were compelled to come on a mandatory basis for questioning every 15 days, in which they were supposed to tell in detail what they are doing, as well as to listen to insults and threats towards them. They called on the women less. We tried many times to establish contact with the returnees, but unfortunately, each time they refused to talk to us. Those who we managed to reach by telephone asked us to not call them or disturb them for now. They are still called in for questioning to this day, however, not as frequently as before, in the first months that they returned, but they are still afraid to contact us.
According to our data, none of them could find jobs. We have documented cases when, after hiring a returnee, an employer would be summoned for questioning by the SNB or UVD. After this, the employer had to immediately dismiss the returnee from their job.
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There were instances when the owners of a house where returning refugees were working as hired day-laborers, were summoned for questioning.
In early 2010, a refugee who was granted asylum in Australia, named Dilorom Abdukadirova, returned to Uzbekistan, in order to reunite with her family. She was arrested on 12 March 2010 and was sentenced to 10 years and 2 months imprisonment on the charges of “illegal border crossing” and “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” (Article 223 and 159 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan).
Conclusion
Our investigations have shown the number of the victims of the shooting on 13 and 14 May is much higher than the official estimates of the Uzbek government. Only through the results of a very limited survey of refugees we have been able to document the fact of the death of at least 500 persons, who were killed by the bullets of government troops. To those who were killed in these days, should be added those who were tried and convicted and died as a result of torture and abuse in prison. We were able to document nine such cases. In reality, there are obviously more cases, since all of the families who were brought back the bodies of their relatives were ordered not to disclose the fact of the death of their relatives and to quickly bury the corpses without going through the usual traditional Muslim burial rites. To this number, one should add missing persons, of which we could identify 15 cases. There are serious grounds to believe that these missing persons were among those who were buried en-mass in the Bogi-Shamol district in the Andijan suburb, or were killed by investigators from law enforcement that did not provide a prior warning to their relatives before investigating.
The victims of the regime also include 220 of our brothers sitting in prisons in Uzbekistan. Most of them had no relation to the organization of the demonstrations on 13 May and were, probably, only passive participants. During their investigations and trials, they were not provided with free access to lawyers, and therefore, they were denied justice. Trials proceeded in gross violation of the law and international standards of justice. And now they are subject to torture and abuse, particularly those whose relatives were among the refugees seeking refuge in democratic countries.
Meanwhile, the main culprits in the mass executions of civilians are still at large. But we hope, we believe, that justice will be done and fairness will prevail. Our study is a step in the realization of this sacred task, without which our homeland cannot have a revival.
We hope that democratic countries will not limit their actions to those humane acts which they have done for us, refugees from Andijan. We are extremely grateful that the issue of our resettlement in Western countries was handled quickly and that we found in these countries warm welcome and shelter. However, we would like to see these countries remain with us, support us in our fight for the truth. And to identify those individuals who are guilty for the loss of hundreds of lives. We are also looking for support from the West to achieve the reunification of our families, end the torture of our fathers and children, brothers and sisters, who to this day continue to languish in the Uzbek gulags.
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Appendices
Appendix 1. Excerpts from interviews
13 May 2005 at approximately 11.30 midday, I arrived by minibus to the GallaBank building, which is situated approximately 200 meters from the administrative building. The driver told us that the road was blocked, and that we would need to continue further on foot, which I did. There, in front of the building of the bank, I saw a friend of mine named Botir, who worked at the auto service station. I once had worked on a construction job at his house. He stood in the middle of the road. As I later learned, among his functions was to prevent provocations from the authorities. I only had time to greet him when a passenger car arrived, which tried to drive in the direction of the demonstrators. My friend tried to stop the car. Inside the car there were two people. One of them was armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. When Botir went to the car’s door, you could hear automatic fire. They shot through the partly-closed door window. This just happened 4-5 meters away from me. I saw how Botir collapsed dead. Blood came from his nose and mouth like it was water from a spring. Next to him, on the asphalt, there were yellow pieces sprinkled, possibly they were some of the innards from his head. I was in shock. The shooter got out of the car and ran in the direction of the demonstrators. In his right hand he held a machine gun which shot straight into the ground. With his left hand, he covered his head. It was clear that he did not realize what he did and where to run. What became of him, I don’t know.
His body was wrapped in a carpet and then and carried to the gate which was surrounding the front of the city hall building. When I arrived at the central square, Bobur Square, I saw that it was full of demonstrators. You could hear speeches of protest against the policies of the authorities. Among them were women, children, and elderly people. In the center of the square, under the monument, a platform had been erected, there was a microphone, into which people would go up, speak at the podium about their everyday concerns. Many wanted to speak up about the number of problems which were not attended to by the authorities for many years. At the microphone, they spoke about such problems such as unemployment, poverty, about the unjust verdicts of the judges, about the jails in which people sat for years without ever being shown any charges. The chaos and lawlessness of the authorities and its power structures, all of this, I think was the reason for the uprising of the people. On this day, many were congratulating each other; many were smiling and were happy that, finally, there might come some kind of changes in their lives. This lasted until the evening, while they had not yet opened fire, indiscriminately, upon the demonstrators. Two military vehicles, including one APC, the other an URAL, were moving at great speed down the avenue in the direction of Navoii Avenue in the direction of the Chulpon Movie Theater, shooting in every direction. Then, from the microphone, they called for calm, saying that the bullets were blanks and they – the authorities – would not dare shoot at people. But literally after several minutes, these vehicles returned and driving in the opposite direction again opened fire on the crowd of people. After several minutes it was already clear that the bullets were real. The bullets sparked when they ricocheted against the asphalt, and people would fall to their deaths. Where a woman had been killed on the road, a bullet had hit her in the head, I saw how four men took her by the arms and legs and carried her away. They put a handkerchief over her head, which was soaked in fresh blood. I also saw a woman who was wounded and who passed me on the side of the administration building. People were in despair, many were outraged by the spectacle that they saw before them. Bloodied corpses of men, women and children, torn limbs, groans of the wounded, all of this had forced people to extremes. We had to dash off the avenue as quickly as
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possible, so that the military vehicles couldn’t, unimpeded, drive by on it, shooting at people. At the beginning it was terrifying, and I wanted to drop everything and run far away, but then my fear vanished and I started helping in the creation of a barricade, which would have blocked the way of the military vehicles. In just a few minutes, the road was blocked, we dragged whatever was at hand, concrete planters, large metal constructions for installing flags, even automobiles that were parked in the administration building parking lot. Someone got a hold of a full box of empty bottles into which they poured gasoline and created wicks out of rags, all was done in haste, no time to slow down. After a short lull, once again the machine gun fire and shooting could be heard, but from the direction of road which is located between the park and Navoii Avenue and School No. 30. UAZ and then APC military vehicles were only approximately 300 meters away from us. Since there was a lot of greenery and trees, they could not see the demonstrators clearly, as the school wall slightly closes off the square. The soldiers from these vehicles fired only at those who they could see. I saw how a bullet hit a brick wall covered in concrete stucco, resulting in a crater of about 30 centimeter diameter and depth of about 5 centimeters entering the wall, the bullet burning a short bright fire and then leaving smoke in just a few seconds. As I had studied in this very school, and knew the place well, I decided that I could get closer to the shooting vehicles and throw a bottle with the explosive mix at them. Having procured a bottle and matches, I climbed over the school gate and walked along the decrepit and old roofs of single story houses. Until I got there, the APCs had gone, leaving an UAZ in the middle of the road, in which there was no one, save for a couple of backpacks with clothing and practically a full crate of canned fish. We tried to start the car, but could not. Then we decided to return back to the square, taking with us the canned fish. Upon returning, I saw that the square was empty. I saw a man there wandering and I asked him, “where did everyone go?” and he pointed in the direction of the Chulpon Movie Theater, and I ran. When it then became clear, people tried to escape and divided into two convoys and went in the direction of this movie theater. Rain fell and thunder could be heard mingled with the sounds of gunfire. I ran straight through the center of the road, as there were no cars there. In the distance, I could see a convoy of people walking right in the center of the road. I tried not to lose sight of them. Approximately near the shoe factory, on the left side of the road, I saw a man lying on the sidewalk and I approached to see. I remember that he was wearing dark pants and a brown shirt and that his face was not visible. He was still alive, I could hear him panting. Practically his entire shirt was covered in blood. I decided to run further because I thought that I should be with everyone. Little did I know that my mother, sister, and wife were in the second convoy. I fled along the left side of the sidewalk and as I approached, the sounds of shots grew louder, and I could hear the whistle of the bullets flying. Finally, I caught up with the convoy, but was afraid to join up them, because that part of the avenue that I was supposed to cross was where the military sweep was — nearly 400 meters from us. There on the road, in front of the Andijan Civil Engineering Technical College, you could see that the APC which was blocking the road stood sideways to us. About 150 meters from me lay the bodies of men, as if they were just grass cuttings, so that at first I thought that it was just bags of sand stacked on top of each other. I could see only a part of this mass of the dead, as the green and the trees at the edge of the road blocked the view of the road. But even so, it was possible to count at least 200 people. I couldn’t get closer to it, because of the shooting, but I managed to hide behind a big tree which protected me from bullets. From there, the second convoy which I had overtaken was visible. There were approximately one thousand people in the convoy. From the side of the APC they shot in short bursts, first at those standing at the poles along the road, and then at the long lines of people in the convoy. I saw how people in the front ranks fell to the ground and how the others behind them rushed into the loose. Each trying to escape. Someone among them cried “save the women and children!” And only then I knew that there were women and children in the convoy. The shooting did not stop, although that
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there were women and children there was clearly visible. Most of the people turned right towards the Chulpon movie theater. The road was littered with the bodies of those people who did not manage to escape.
On 16 May 2005, I crossed the border into Kyrgyzstan. After spending one night at an acquaintance’s house, I asked him to take me to the refugee camp. Me and three of my friends took a taxi to Suzak, where there was a refugee camp. Before it, there were about 200 meters when me and approximately another 80 people were stopped by Kyrgyz border guards and were handed back to the Uzbeks. They took us to the police department, where they began to torture and humiliate us during grueling interrogations. When I was being interrogated, the investigator showed me around 100 photos, many corpses were impossible to identify because of the severe injuries to the head and face. I sat in the police department for 16 days, after which I was released under the conditions that I would collaborate with them.
But soon I managed to escape again to Kyrgyzstan where I then lived for more than three years, until I was granted asylum in Sweden. Most of this time I worked for friends and acquaintances. Next door to us lived a family with a member that died in the basement of the Uzbek National Security Services. There was the widowed wife with three orphaned children, the oldest of whom was seven years old. I spoke with the relatives of the deceased who said that his corpse was transferred to the Uzbek side several days after the events. In his body there were gunshots to the back as well as many knife wounds and bruises. In addition, he had no sexual organ – as it had been cut off. It was clear that before his death, he had been wounded, tortured, and abused. And the most interesting thing is that his body was not buried somewhere in Uzbekistan, but was handed over to his relatives by the representatives of law enforcement – as a “visual aid” to demonstrate what happens to those who struggle with the regime.
I can also testify about the violent death of Nodir Akramkon Bohodirhonovich, who was born in 1977. His body was found in the morgue on 14 May 2005. On his corpse there were sutures from an autopsy, traces of four bullet wounds, three of which were located around the heart, with a diameter of five centimeters. The fourth bullet hit the area between his heel and toes.
I spoke with his younger brother Marifhon Nodirov, born in 1979, who lives in the U.S. at this time. On 14 May 2005, he saw the corpse of his brother Akhramkhon and participated in his burial. Marifhon is the only male member of the family who has not suffered directly. Two of his older brothers, Dadakhon born in 1973, and Gulomkhon, born in 1974, are now serving time in prison for taking part in the demonstrations on 13 May 2005. I myself witnessed how Dadakhon and Gulomkhon were tortured by the butchers of the Andijan police department, in the basement, where I sat for 16 days. Additionally, Gulomkhon already had been shot in the buttocks on 13 May. Despite this, they tortured him.
Their father, Nodirkhon Bokhodirkhon Makhammadkhonovich, born in 1949, also was arrested on 16 May 2005, after a month. They later released him but then re-arrested him and gave him a 15 year prison sentence. On 2 July 2007 he died in prison. His corpse showed a badly swollen belly. Before he died, he met with his relatives, who had visited him every month. In the last three visits, they had to carry him away on a stretcher.
Another specific case of death which I can attest to is the death of Karimov Shomurodbek. I spoke with his younger brother Mukhammadjon, born in 1982, when we met in Kyrgyzstan after the May events. He, like I, was registered with the UNHCR. He told me that he saw
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the body of his brother at home when after receiving severe head wounds, his brother died in the hospital. I want to draw attention to the fact that when on 13 May 2005 Shomurod was taken away in an ambulance, he didn’t have any wounds to his head. He had wounds, but only in his middle or on his leg. This is confirmed by Mamarasulov Abdumalik, born in 1975 (participant of the Andijan events, and at this time living in Australia) who himself had helped Karimov Shomurod get into the ambulance not far from the building of the Chulpon Movie Theater. Unfortunately, I have no direct evidence that Karimov Shomurod was shot in the head with a gun in the hospital premises. But the circumstantial evidence is there. The facts and evidence available suggests that in the Andijan hospitals they were killing wounded witnesses. I hope that with your help we will know what really happened.
(R.S., Sweden)
On 13 May 2005 people who gathered at the Andijan regional administration building waited for justice from the government and solutions to their problems. Instead, the military arrived in APCs and fired at citizens. Then we gathered in a convoy of about 600-700 persons and moved in the direction of Chulpon Avenue. They were mostly men and boys, some of whom hadn’t even reach adulthood. When we reached the Andijan Civil Engineering Technical College, we saw that at the intersection of Chulpon Avenue and Kasimova (formerly named Bukharskaya) Street there were URAL military vehicles and two APCs. We immediately stopped upon seeing this. At that moment, from the side of the military, we heard a cry. Between the military and us there were about 100 meters.
We didn’t even have enough time to figure out what they wanted, when the military began firing directly at us. As a result of the shooting, those who were in the front of the convoy, approximately 40-50 people, were killed immediately or seriously injured. The others had to bend over and fall to the ground. The shooting lasted for about two hours until the dark. The military kept shooting until there was no longer anything in sight. On that day, the lights on the street were turned off. Even in the homes, there was no light. After the firing stopped, about one hundred people crawled through the corpses on the roadside in the direction of the Technical College. The military again began to fire in that direction. From there, one could hear the cries of the wounded and of those crying for help. Once out on the edge of the road, they and I included took turns crawling under the gate of the fence, on the territory of the Technical College. The gates were shut. In the yard, I was left with about 15 people in order to provide help to some of the others who were wounded. Finding the wounded, we dragged them to the doors of the Technical College, from which others helped bring them into the building of the Technical College. Moving the wounded, I had found in the bushes my cousin Iskhak Kadirov, who was wounded in the leg. I helped him move into the building of the College. Having collected all the wounded, we once again, in order to check, called out “is there anyone else who is still alive?” but no one answered. We found about 20-25 people like this. We washed the wounds of all the wounded, we found blankets inside the building and covered the wounded with them. Meanwhile, from the direction of the City Hall we could hear the sounds of military vehicles approaching the direction of Soi Guzar (the end of the Chulpon Avenue). And then we saw from the edge of the door of the Technical College, two APCs which stopped at the many corpses, lighting up the roads with its headlights. We saw a terrible sight. The APCs drove right over the corpses lying in the road, in the direction of Soi Guzar. I, along with several other people, climbed over the wall in the courtyard of the Technical College towards the makhalla. From there, I crossed the Komsomolsky lake and made my way home to Buston district.
When I arrived home, it was already 23:30. I took off all my clothes on which there were large traces of blood, and burned them. Then, I went to wash the bloodstains off my body.
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The next day, after a long wait, we went to look for my younger brother Abdulkhafiz, who never returned home. We went to look together with my older brother Abdunosir (he now is in the penal colony of Zangiotinsky District, in Tashkent Region). Approaching the Bobur monument, we saw there several citizens gathering who clearly also were looking for their loved ones. There, near the monument there lay several dozen corpses. We saw people who were collecting bodies from the square into one place. Accidentally, we found among the bodies, the corpse of our younger brother Abdulkhafiz. On that day on the streets of the old city, there were no cars and so we found a cart. We put our brother’s corpse into the cart and brought him to my uncle’s home, which is near the oil factory. There we found a driver with a Tico-brand car and we asked him to drive us with our brother’s corpse to our home in Buston district. After arriving home, we washed the body and covered the body in white cloth in accordance with Muslim traditions.
When we came home, we found out that my cousin Iskhak also was killed. His siblings found his body. We buried both Abdulkhafiz and Iskhak on the same day at the “Buston” cemetery.
(D.K., Finland)
At approximately 9am (13 May 2005) I was already at Babur Square. The square gradually filled up with people, among them there were many women, children, and elderly people. At approximately 10 am, on the road between the Okhunbabayeva Theater and the administration building, a UAZ-brand dark green vehicle drove by at high speed, and tried to turn right towards the GallaBank, but as the road was blocked, the UAZ stopped. Four or five men jumped out in black masks, in military uniforms, armed with automatics, and they opened fire on the demonstrators. I managed to hide behind a tree. In that place, a 12-13 year old boy was killed who stood behind me. The bullet hit him right in the eye (I do not remember which one), after which he fell into the open pit that he was standing near. When we pulled him out, he was already dead.
I saw how three other young guys were shot. They stood approximately 15 meters away from me. One of them was wounded and the other two were killed immediately. Unfortunately, I cannot describe either them or their wounds, as I found myself in a state of shock. Meanwhile, the number of people on the square grew. At approximately 10-11 o’clock, a military vehicle of GAZ66 make (or ZIL131) drove at a high speed from Komil Yashin Street in the direction of Chulpon Avenue. From the vehicle they began to open fire onto the crowd of people. By 13:00 – 14:00 the square almost completely filled up with people. At this time, from the direction of SNB on Navoii Avenue, in the direction of Chulpon Avenue two military vehicles drove past, one of which I managed to see – it was a URAL. From both cars they fired intensively upon the demonstrators. Five meters away from me an elderly woman 40-50 years old was killed. The bullet hit her in the back, and she fell face down. She wore a dress and a green scarf. Two teenagers 14-15 years old were hit in the back, and died on the spot. One of them was wearing a white shirt and black trousers and on his feet he had black shoes. I saw how they bled onto the ground. It was really scared, and I could not recover. From the other side of the avenue, as well, people were wounded and killed. Across the street there were people helping a man wounded in his left arm, the arm covered in blood, cross. From there, several people approached, carrying in their arms the body of a young man about 20 – 25 years old that was wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and white sneakers. Among them, there was an elderly man who was crying. As I later understood, this was the father of the deceased. After several minutes the same military vehicles were moving in an opposite direction, again opening fire on the demonstrators. I lay in a pit nearbye.While the vehicles passed, they were continuously
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shooting from automatic weapons. A journalist from Germany was lying not far from me, on the asphalt, like me, trying to dodge bullets. He was wearing a bag and a camera. After about 15 minutes, when everything quieted down, I went out onto the avenue and saw that on my right, about 1.5 – 2 kilometers, from the railroad bridge there were two APCs and military cargo vehicles. The demonstrators built barricades on the road, dragging in anything which they could move. After several minutes the shooting began again from the direction of A. Navoii Park. At this time I only heard gunshots, a sound which approached us. People gathered into a large convoy and went in the direction of the Sai (Sai Guzar, a place where Chulpon Avenue ends and a ring road begins). The avenue was full of people, I also joined the crowd. When we got near to School No. 46, in the middle of the road, there were two buses which partitioned our paths. Within minutes, a crowd of people pushed the buses out of the way and the path was cleared. After several minutes we were already at the building of School NO. 15, approximately 150 – 200 meters from us we could see the APC, beside which stood a soldier wearing a black mask over his head, and he held a gun. He quickly climbed into the APC and started shooting at us from the APC, into a crowd of unarmed people. The soldiers, hiding in ambush, shot at us from behind stacks of sandbags. Everyone around us shook from the noises of the shots. We all lay on the pavement, some lay on top of one another, as there was not enough space on the ground. The military fired at as for about 15 minutes non-stop, then fired on those who stirred or gave any signs of life. Some tried to scream, mostly they were requests to stop firing, and others cried for help. I heard a child’s voice which cried “Ayadjon!” (Mama!). Among us there were many women and children, many of whom did not manage to get out. Next to me were my two friends. One of them, his name is Nurullo, said, that it seemed to him that was hit, and in order to check it, he put his hand under his suit. When he pulled out his hand, it was covered in blood. He lay in front of me, when the bullet hit him in the ribs. Most of the people caught bullets in their heads, and it was clear that this had to be the work of snipers who carried out their work in cold blood. Already nearly dark, and we were all lying down. I was afraid to even move, because snipers hit without a miss any of those who moved. Among the shouting, I could recognize the voice of my uncle Azimov Avazbek Kholdarovich, who was born in 1968, as well as the voice of another relative, Mamadkhanov Muzzafar, born in 1961, who were wounded and were asking for someone to help them get out, but I could do nothing to help them. When I lifted my head, I saw a lying, dead person, from whom, in his stomach, something lit up, glowing a bright fire and sparks, and this continued for several seconds. It was a bullet that entered the man, and which continued to burn. A few hours earlier, I had seen a similar sight when one of those bullets hit the wall of School No. 30. The rain was falling and gradually the voices of the people subsided and fell silent it was somewhere between 23:00 and 24:00, and it was dark. I saw an open door at School No. 15 and I decided to try to get in there. To do this, I had to run a few meters over the corpses. I jumped up and ran crouching, and behind me there were another 3 or 4 people following me. Again, the shooting began. Just as I ran through the corpses, I fell onto the ground right into the puddle. Those people who followed me continued to run. At first a bullet hit the man who was fleeing in front of me, he fell down and never moved. The second person was hit right in front of the door of the school, he fell down already into the school yard, and also didn’t move any longer. They shot the third just as he moved through the gate of the school. He fell from the gate and fell with a crash to the ground. Perhaps in the darkness he didn’t see that the door was open and decided to climb through the gate. I managed to crawl to the door and enter the schoolyard. There I saw another 5-6 corpses of men lying on the ground. I was approached by the school’s watchman and he said that in his room there were a few wounded people, among whom might be some of my relatives or acquaintances who I could take away with me. I went into the room and it was dark in there. In the darkness I could distinguish 5 or 6 men who were lying down and moaning. One was covered with a thick blanket and he said that he was freezing. Among them, there was no one that I could recognize. I left the room and walked to the end of the schoolyard, climbed over the roof of a single-story building and was on the next street, where it was much safer. Thank God that both of my relatives are still alive. Azimov Avaszbek had to have a leg amputated ,and he is now serving time in jail, and the other, Mamadhanov Muzaffar, recovered and is now freed.
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(A.A., Sweden)
13 May 2005, after finding out that President Karimov was coming to Babur square, I went out with my five children to the square. There were a lot of people there. Because so many people suffer from emotional and financial problems. People wanted to complain to the president about unemployment, lack of money for treatment, unjust officials, corruption, and about many other things. However, no one came to hear the protests of the people. Instead, they shot at us from military vehicles. Then, in the crowd on the square, they reported that a 13 year old boy was killed. After that, there was severe firing. From this unexpected turn of events, I was overwhelmed, and with my children, stuck to the crowd and ran in the direction of Chulpon Avenue. There were so many people. My children clasped me from five sides, crying loudly. To shoot at women in cold blood – I had never seen, nor heard, or even read about such a thing.
On Chulpon Avenue, they started firing at us from all sides. Women and children in this horrible massacre nearly lost their minds. Men took women and children into the center and they stood at the edge to protect us. Protecting us, many men were killed or wounded. I was a witness to such a case. At the time of the tragedy, I was standing with my three children on the right side of the avenue. One young man around 28-30 years old, thin, tall, wearing a black suit, was walking next to us, protecting us. Suddenly a bullet hit him in the neck and destroyed his neck. His head bent over and hung to one side and he fell, dying. I and my children were witnesses to this terrible sight and were terribly frightened. I covered the eyes of my 9 year old son, so that he wouldn’t be afraid. If this man had not shielded us, then we would have been dead. I owe my life to this young man and his family.
The men who surrounded us were falling one by one. In their place, the next ones, And they too fell, And then more stood next, etc.
In the confusion, I lost my two daughters. You cannot even imagine what condition I was in then. I could not even look for them or even think about them. In my arms I held my four month old daughter, with my nine year old son and eldest daughter. We ran with all our might to save our lives. But there was not enough strength for them. We had not even reached Soi Guzar when in front of us we saw our way blocked by soldiers and tanks (apparently APCs). They began to shoot at us again. Then everyone turned to the street on the right of the road. The men broke down the iron fence in order to open the way. I too, turning to the street, looked back, looking for my daughters. Then I saw many dead bodies. Among the dead bodies and wounded, drowned in blood, I was looking for my daughters. And not finding them, we began again to flee.
Turning to the right and passing several roads, I suddenly saw my daughters. They were crying and asked passersby after me. Our eyes met. Reassured, we went along with the crowd. We walked all night by foot and by morning we reached the village Teshiktash. We just thought about resting when once again, they began to shoot at us. But already this was too much.
Again, from different angles, the bullets came flying. And I was with my five children, and I didn’t know what to do. We lay on the ground, and crawled about aimlessly. Men took off their shirts, their T-shirts, waving them and shouted that they were unarmed. But despite the white flags, the soldiers did not stop shooting.
We ran into a lane and knocked at the first door. Many people wouldn’t open their doors and many were chasing us away. But only one woman opened her door and admitted us. Entering the house, she changed my daughters’ wet clothing. The other children sat and
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slept a bit. After some time, we went to check outside. I saw how the wounded were moved to one home and were given assistance there. Everywhere there were people. Everyone was pale with fear. We were tired and depressed, mentally, morally, and physically. We stayed in the surroundings at the edge of the village. We had already thought that we were the end, but Kyrgyzstan opened its border and saved us from imminent death.
I think that the reason why the soldiers chased us to the very border was the fact that we are living witnesses to the shooting of peaceful people and their massacre. And they do not want any witnesses to remain.
(R.M., Australia)
We began to go in the direction of Chulpon Avenue, completely filling the road. As we walked along, they fired at us from residential buildings located on both sides of the road. I saw how the soldiers had climbed into the trees and from there were shooting at people. When I walked under a tree, I got a kick in the head from a boot of a soldier sitting in the tree. Among the dead bodies, I saw leaning on his right side a dying friend, Turakhon, in a white shirt. Blood flowed on the pavement, like water in a creek. At this time, my eyes were drawn to the blinding yellow fire. With the others, we reached Teshiktash, but in the morning we were met with military fire. Here, in front my own eyes, my friend Odinakhon’s daughter was killed. She gasped, her mouth opened slightly, gold teeth shone from her mouth. It was hard to watch. When I looked around, we were surrounded by soldiers, and then I shouted, “stop shooting, fascists!” and out of helplessness, I cried and sat on the ground. I thought that films, apparently, were based on real events. It was like a movie about the war and I was in it, among those getting hit by bullets. But this was real.
(A.V., Australia)
From approximately 17:00 they began heavy fire at the demonstrators. The soldiers fired from passing military vehicles along Navoii Avenue. Then all the people fled in different directions. But someone from the crowd cried that if everyone runs away then they’ll massacre everyone. Then the majority of the people went to the side of Chulpon Avenue. Soldiers were shooting from every side, forcing the crowd to move forward. As we walked, we were subjected three times to mass fire, and finally, when we got to the Technical College, there were two APCs and convoys of soldiers. This was where the most powerful attack happened. Everyone got quiet and sometime later the wounded people began to try for help. When the attack subsided a bit, people began to crawl out of the way towards the Technical College, and several went in the direction of School No. 15. And through the neighboring streets, those who remained alive reached the village Teshiktash.
(A.M., Canada)
I was a witness to the death of Umid Mirazboev, born in 1971. He was my close friend and we worked together in 2000 in a confectionary in Kokand City. On that day, he was wearing white trousers and a white shirt and a black vest. He received a gunshot right to his forehead. I heard about his death from wife. The Uzbek security forces killed him (apparently after his arrest and torture). His corpse was brought to his home. His head was wrapped in a bandage stained in blood. My wife found this out from the mother of the deceased. The military insisted on an immediate burial for Umid, without any publicity.
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(A.K., Canada)
Around 14:30 (13 May 2005) a military vehicle with soldiers rode down Navoii Avenue. They began to shoot at those who were on Bobur Square. People were very frightened. There was a loud noise. When I looked, I saw people fleeing. Someone lay on the ground. Women with children, the elderly, teenagers, and young people, everyone tried to hide from bullets, find shelter. After the fire stopped, I saw about a dozen corpses around 20-25 meters from me. Among them were women. Toward evening, the military surrounded the square from all sides. Only Chulpon Avenue was open. We went in that direction and there, between Navoii Park and School (No. 30), there were soldiers and they began to open fire on us. Several people died. Then, when we arrived at the regional pharmacy, they began to shoot at us. People sat down. The shooting stopped. Once again, we started to go. When we got the Chulpon Movie Theater, soldiers greeted us with open fire from machine guns and APCs with machine guns. A heavy rain fell. Each time when they started to shoot, we lay on the ground and we were soaked through with rain. After the shooting, we managed to get to a side street near the movie theater.
(A., USA)
After repeated raids and shooting at people on the square by the military, it became impossible to be near the administration building. And we started thinking about how to get out of there unharmed. We formed the first convoy, which consisted of approximately 1800 – 2000 people. The convoy moved in the direction of Chulpon Avenue. After 10 – 15 minutes, the second convoy moved in the same direction. This convoy consisted of, I am guessing, 7000-8000 people. As we walked along Chulpon Avenue, the soldiers opened fire from different directions. Among us, a lot of people began to die. On the sides of the avenue there were many dead bodies. But when we got to the Chulpon Movie Theater, we were greeted by two APCs and several soldiers. At some distance from the APCs there were many dead (apparently they were those who went in the first convoy). At this time, the military shot from many directions, meeting at these APCs. Many people died. Fortunately, there was a street on the right side, near the Chulpon Movie Theater and we turned on this street. Among the dead there were elderly people, women, and even little children. I was in shock. I felt that only my legs were working. When going down this road, there were wounded people among us. We walked all night, around 40 kilometers and arrived at the Teshiktash village. Although we did manage to get away from the solders, I nonetheless felt danger. My feelings were correct. In Teshiktash, the soldiers waited for us in ambush and, upon our approach, opened fire on us. Some people lay on the ground, and others ran away. I saw how people died how they were hit by the soldiers’ bullets. When the soldiers stopped shooting, among us there were many dead. There were dead even among the local people who happened to be there with us.
(N.K., USA)
I also participated in the demonstrations on 13 May 2005 around the administration building on Bobur Square. On that day, for the first time, people from the podium spoke about their problems and difficulties. Like many, I also listened and inside, agreed with what they were saying. Suddenly we heard the sound of gunshots. As the shots were without warning, and for the people, we were all in a state of confusion. There were cries. Someone cried, someone was wounded, someone cried that we needed to hit the ground. Everyone lay on the ground, and I did too. Lying on the ground, I looked up and saw big military vehicles.
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They were shooting from them. They rode back and forth and shot along the way. This happened several times. Then there were rumors that the entire square was surrounded by soldiers. After that, we would need to leave the square. We were directed towards the avenue. Men took women and children in the center, this way shielding us from bullets. When we got to the Chulpon Movie Theater, they began opening fire on us. Yes, if I had not seen this all with my own eyes I would never have believed it. It was hard to believe that in our own country, in your own home, that they could treat people this way. But it happened. We all were surrounded by a hail of bullets. My whole body trembled and feared. Men who were on the edges, shielding us, fell one by one. We again needed to lie on the ground. I then noticed that bullets were flying from the right and from the left. I immediately covered my head. It seemed that a bullet would hit me in the back. I lay there and awaited my own death. Everyone suddenly ran into the street on the right side near the movie theater. I also ran after them and turned onto the street.
At that moment, I saw the body of man lying in the street. It seemed to me that this man was like my husband, who was also at the demonstration. I had even forgotten that I was hiding. Struggling, I rushed to the corpse. I approached the corpse and looked carefully. No, it was not my husband. It was another person who I didn’t know. He lay there flat on his back, his chest was covered in blood.
After that, all who remained alive after the terrible slaughter walked all night and into the morning until they got to the Teshiktash village. There the military was already waiting for us. Once again, they opened fire. Again, the massacre began. Everyone again was in a panic. Everyone fled in different directions. I was confused. I stood there stunned, not knowing what to do. Suddenly, someone called me. I looked around and then saw my husband. He was running in my direction. He took my hand, and like the wind, swept me away. There were many other people there besides us. There, we waited until the shooting quieted down. After that, everyone gathered in one place. When they came to the place of the shooting, there were still dozens of corpses. My husband told me to join the women and he walked to the men. The women went into a courtyard. I ran after them. We entered the courtyard. There we could rest. We were tired and hungry. Sometime later a man came saying that here it was not safe and ordered us to follow him. Coming out of the yard, I saw how the wounded had been brought to the yard. When I was still going to the yard, I noticed a man who sat, leaning against the wall. His eyes were wide open. At the time, I didn’t really pay attention to him. But when I already went out to the street, then I saw that his face was covered with a handkerchief. I understood that he was dead. I felt pity for him. Then the ambulance came and took away the wounded. And we asked the local residents to bury the corpses of the victims. And we ourselves left to cross the border for Kyrgyzstan.
(M.R., Australia)
On 13 May 2005, I, like many others, came in the morning, around 9 am, to Bobur Square. Ordinary people spoke about their difficulties and problems. Around 11:00-12:00, men in military uniforms began to shoot at the demonstrators from approaching military cargo vehicles and APCss. This happened several times until that evening. At 5:00-6:00 it was already clear that it was dangerous to remain on the square because the soldiers were armed and shooting into the square from all directions, and killing innocent people. Then the participants of the demonstration began to move towards Chulpon Avenue. I was in the last line of the convoy. We went from the middle of Chulpon Avenue. But in front of us the military blocked the way with APCs. Soldiers shot at use from the front, back, and side. On both ends of the avenue there were multi-story houses. The military shot even from these
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homes. One bullet passed my ear and hit a woman who was in front of me, in the head. My friend Avas Saidamirov stayed and brought the corpse of this woman to the sidewalk. But he never came back and he was possibly killed. Military men didn’t spare anyone; they fired indiscriminately at anyone, young, old, women, and children. There were corpses everywhere, in the middle and on the edges of the road, next to trees and in ditches. When we got close to the Chulpon Movie Theater, the convoy couldn’t move any further because of the shooting and the APCs blocking the road, and we turned on a small street next to the movie theater. We walked along this road all night, but I didn’t know where we were going. Early in the morning on 14 May 2005, we arrived at Teshkitash village. There at about 6:00 in the morning at the crossroads of the Teshkitash village, soldiers again began shooting at us. There were many killed, and the rest fled. I ran on a small street and wanted to get back home through the rice field. But one old local man said that there were soldiers by the river who were shooting and killing people who tried to escape across the fields. About 30 people were killed there, near the river. Many among us did not see the corpses, but my friend and I saw them. Then I went back to join the others.
(D.S., USA)
When we reached Teshiktash, the soldiers were waiting for us in ambush and fired at us upon our arrival. I saw how one bullet hit a slender, medium height woman in a dress with blue flowers in the side. It was the wife of my relative Akromdjon, who had been with us on that day. Severely wounded, she fell onto the ground. They moved her under a tree and when I looked at her, I saw that she was breathing heavily. I stood and recited a prayer. Akromdjon sat next to his wife and cried, after several minutes she died. She died from a bullet to the back.
According to my sources, after the Andijan events, they began to hold mass burials of all of the dead bodies in the Bogi Shamol district. This is against Muslim traditions and an insult to the memory of the deceased. One local resident named Djuraboy began to tell local people about the mass graves. He was knifed to death for this. Local people are sure that Djuraboy was killed by the SNB. I was told about this in the refugee camp by people who in Andijan were his neighbors. This case was also reported on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Ozodlik. The mass graves were found near his home. I know people who know the house of the deceased.
(N.U., USA)
When the convoy of people stopped near the Chulpon Movie Theater and the shooting increased, a bullet hit a young man, about age 20-25, who was next to me, in the head. The bullet. The bullet flew past and from his head blood splattered, hitting me straight in the face. I, along with three other guys picked him up and put him on the shelf of a stall. He died right in our hands. We left him there and kept on going to save ourselves from death.
(K.S., USA)
I had heard that people came to a peaceful demonstration to demand that the government improve the socio-economic situation in the country. I went to Babur Square. It was about 9:00 in the morning. The protesters urged the government to listen and find solutions to our problems. After some time, a helicopter flew over the square and there was a rumor among
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the people that President Karimov himself was coming. But instead, government forces surrounded and blockaded the area of the square.
Here, I’d like to point out the fact that if the government simply wanted to disperse the demonstrators, then why did it have to use arms or block the square from all sides so that no one could get out of there? I am certain that the government from the outset decided to massacre all the people who were in the square. When the APCs shot at the crowd point-blank, I like many others decided to leave the area and go home. But it was hard to do because the streets were blocked with APCs. I tried to cross Komil Yashin Street. But when the APCs were only 200-300 meters away, the soldiers opened fire without warning. I lay on the ground and began to crawl back. Just at this moment, I saw a passing APC and a large military vehicle with soldiers. Upon passing, they opened fired on the crowd. I, like many others quickly lay on the ground, because that was the only way to stay alive. Such raids continued several times and after every raid, several people were killed. At that point, someone came to the podium and said that we cannot stay there, because there are already many killed and if we stay here at night, then they’ll shoot everyone. And everyone together began to leave in a convoy from the square to Chulpon Avenue. There were many people leaving the square. I also joined the convoy, because it was probably the only way to survive. When we went out to the avenue, there were APCs in front of the building of the Civil Engineering Technical College. And from two sides of the street on the roofs of the homes, there were soldiers and snipers. From every side, they began to shoot indiscriminately at the convoy of people. Then we all lay on the ground and with every passing minute, there were more and more dead. When the convoy reached the Chulpon Movie Theater, again, they began to shoot, but this time the shooting didn’t stop even when we were all lying on the ground. In horror, people lying on ground began to run across to the right side, turning on Bainal-Minal Street. Those who managed to get to this side of the street managed to escape the surroundings. I also was among those who escaped in such a manner.
(I., USA)
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Appendix 2. List of individuals who have disappeared
1. Hamzaev, Hasanhon (from Qo’qon)
2. Holmirzaev, Muhiddin (from Andijon)
3. Jumaboev, Doniyor (from Andijon)
4. Ahmadkulov, Azam
5. Alimov, Erkin
6. Turabekov, Zamirbek
7. Bahodir, Mamathujaev
8. Ismoiljon (last name is unknown)
9. Musajon (last name is unknown)
10. Egamov, Abduvosit
11. Abdumajid (last name is unknown)
12. Isakov, Bahramjon (last name is unknown)
13. Bahramjonov, Bahodir
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Appendix 3. List of individuals, who died from torture while under investigation or during imprisonment and whose corpses were returned to their relatives
1. Nodirov, Bohodirhon (Andijon)
2. Qodirov, Hoshimjon (Andijon)
3. Qo’chqorov, Abdurahmon (Andijon)
4. Ortiqov, Muhammadshokir (Andijon)
5. Hasanov, Shuhratjon (Qo’qon)
6. Ikromjon (last name is unknown) (Qo’qon)
7. Juraev, Ozodbek (Jalaquduq)
8. Turgunova, Ro’zihon (Andijon)
9. Umarov, Giyosiddin (Andijon)
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Appendix 4. Details about several individuals whose corpses were returned to their relatives
4.6 Ortiqov, Muhammadshokir, born in 1975
Muhammadshokir Ortiqov’s body was delivered to his relatives on 7 September 2008. He was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment. Before his death, he had been placed in the prison hospital “Sangorod” in Tashkent. Despite the fact that he had been seriously ill for a long time, his death came as a shock to his family.
Ortiqov was one of the 23 businessmen against whom the authorities opened a criminal case in 2005 and gave an unfair trial, which lead to the protests on 13 May 2005. Until his arrest, Muhammadshokir produced furniture. Renting an unproductive furniture factory in Andijan, he turned it around into a prosperous and profitable enterprise. The first time they put him in prison was 6 June 2004. At the trial in May 2005, during a recess, he told his friends how he was severely tortured during the investigation. He was stripped naked, tied with a rope hanging from the ceiling, doused with cold water, and mercilessly beaten with rubber truncheons. Then he was thrown into a damp, dark cell, where he lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, he realized that he lay unconscious for three days. At the trial he sat hunched over, he was unable to sit up straight.
As a result of the assault by rebels in prison in Andijan on the night of 13 May, Muhammadshokir together with other prisoners, went free, but were soon re-arrested and convicted. After this, the torture only increased. His family was not granted a meeting with him for two years, until he was admitted into Sangorod. But then a visit was granted for only half an hour.
Everyone who was familiar with Muhammadshokir knew him as a young husky. As a result of the torture and abuse while he was in prison, he became truly disabled with poor health. According to his relatives, even at the visit, he was carried away on stretchers. He couldn’t even lie straight, as it prevented him from breathing. He could only be in a half-lying position. Despite the fact that he couldn’t move or take care of himself, in Sangorod, he did not receive proper care. Because of this, he was always unwashed. He had difficulty speaking, with shortness of breath, because he lacked air. He wasn’t even able to finish his words or sentences. His was given only a half hour visit under the supervision of a guard. She begged for a long visit just to wash her husband, but they refused her request.
The medical personnel in Sangorod appealed to the courts eight times, claiming that in Sangorod he was not able to receive adequate treatment and that he needed urgent hospitalization in a specialized medical institution, since his condition was so critical. But at the last trial, which took place on 26 August 2006, they refused the family’s request to transfer M. Ortikov to a specialized clinic.
During the last visit with his family, which took place on 3 September 2008, knowing that he didn’t have much longer to live, he said his farewells to his family and asked his wife to raise his children to be good people. Ortikov’s family do not believe that Mukhammadshokir died a natural death, and are convinced that he was killed through torture, abuse, and denial of proper care and treatment. His body was brought in a Damas car by four policemen. They said that he had died of pulmonary failure. The family was not
6 Number on the list
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allowed to open the coffin or to observe national traditions to wash the body. The police demanded an immediate burial and would not leave until the coffin was buried. This kind of demand from the police speaks volumes that the authorities wanted to hide the fact of Ortikov’s death from torture, and the ability to document it.
5. Khasanov Shukhratdjon, born in 1953.
Shukhratjon, the head of a large family, was a wealthy man, respected by many in Andijan. Some of his close relatives are among the Andijan refugees living abroad. Naturally, he maintained contacts with them. For this, he was arrested in November 2006 by SNB officers.
His family members warned the SNB officers, as they came to arrest him, that he had a weak heart. But they did not pay any attention. They kept him under arrest for about a month. During this time, the family appealed to all of the authorities to help secure Shukhratjon’s release. But all of their attempts were in vain.
After a month, he was brought back home by law enforcement officials. Shukhratjon could barely stand on his feet. They brought him into the house. The officers brought with them a doctor and told the family that this particular doctor would care for the sick. They forbade them to contact any other doctors. It was clear that they feared any publicity of the illness. After a month of detention, he could no longer see and was completely blind. There are also rumors that his condition has considerably deteriorated that he could not even recognize the voices of his loved ones.
His relatives believe that the SNB tortured him with electric shock. They heard several times that many people taken away by the SNB were tortured this way. Anticipating his impending death, Shukhratjon-aka began to hasten the wedding of his son. He said that he wanted to be at the wedding. They held the wedding and the next day Shukhratjon-aka died. At the funeral, police officers cordoned off the street where Shukhratjon-aka lived. They did not allow people to attend the funeral rites. Many wished to attend. The streets were crowded. Although the security forces would not let anyone into the house and demanded that people disperse, no one left. The people waited until the coffin was carried along together with the relatives of the deceased, accompanying them to the cemetery to participate at least in the final stage of the ceremony.
7. Djurayev, Ozodbek, born in 1976
Ozodbek died from brutal beatings from security forces in Uzbekistan in May 2005. This is what Zokhidjon Mirzayev, Ozodbek’s neighbor said.
Ozodbek’s nature was sweet and humble. We often saw him. He worked in one of the state’s mini-bakeries. He was a master of his craft.
On May 13, Djurayev Ozodbek attended and spoke at the demonstration in Andijan City. Then he came home and the next day the director of the village school, where we had all studied, came to his home. She said that he should go and confess to his participation in the demonstration. She added that a raid to identify and arrest witnesses had begun that day, and that if he didn’t go, then he would be taken away, which could result in irreparable consequences. She urged Ozodbek that the Uzbek government is very humane and would forgive him for his mistakes.
Then they went together to the local branch of the SNB. The director explained to the security officials that the young man had mistakenly attended the demonstration and that he would never do such a thing again. The authorities reassured the director, saying that
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Ozodbek would be interrogated and then released. The next day, Ozodbek didn’t return home. His relatives went to the local branch where they were told that he had been taken to the regional SNB branch. The relatives continued to search for Ozodbek. One of the relatives of Ozodbek’s wife found him in the morgue and brought his body home. His neighbors, who washed the body, spoke of how Ozodbek’s corpse was mutilated and covered with black and blue marks. On his legs there were clearly visible bruises from ropes. People thought that perhaps he was beaten, perhaps hung upside down by his legs. His anus was torn. It was clear that they had they had inserted something in there. The nails of his fingers and toes were ripped off. His testicles were removed. Ozodbek’s mother-in-law told all of this in an interview she gave to Radio Ozodlik.
After his burial, SNB officials arrested the relative of his wife who had found Ozodbek’s body and brought it home. They beat him severely and he barely made it out of there. He lay in bed for a long time, unable to move.
The school director who had taken Ozodbek to the SNB suffered a heart attack after the funeral and was sick for a long time. After a month and a half after her heart attack, her neighbors told us that she stopped eating and would only cry. A little later, she died because of a tortured conscience, her neighbors said. Before her death, she said that that she believed that because of the evil state, she had destroyed a nice and well bred guy. She said to those who visited her that she had believed in the government, but that really, it turned out to be filth.
.
9. Umarov, Giyosiddin, born in 1953
The body of Giyosiddin Umarov was returned on 29 October 2010 from the central prison in Tashkent [Sangorod]. Until that time, during his prison time, he did not once appear in the prison with the official diagnosis “Hemorrhoids.” Before he was in prison, he never had any health issues.
Here’s what a friend of his son Takhir, Ortikali, who is now in the U.S., had to say about this. Ortikali was in the investigation cell in Andijan city together with Giyosiddin after the events of 13 – 14 May 2005.
“After 13 May, there was a massive arrest of eyewitnesses of the Andijan massacre. We – Giyosiddin-aka and several dozen other people who witnessed the horrors of that day, 13 May, decided to leave the country and join those people who were able to cross the border and seek shelter in the refugee camp in Kyrgyzstan on 14 May. But Kyrgyzstan’s security did not allow us to join the other refugees and handed us over to the Uzbek authorities.
Then some healthy guys in military uniforms put sacks over our heads and took us away, where to, we did not know. They took us into some kind of building that seemed similar to an internal affairs office. They beat with truncheons in the chamber and began to beat so hard that the men cried out of pain and begged for the beatings to stop. They begged and said that they would agree to any charges, just to stop the beatings. Our turn was coming up and before us it was Giyossidin-aka’s turn. We and several others were called, and they took us into a room and ordered us to strip naked. We got undressed. Healthy guys in military uniform began cursing and insulting everyone. They had rubber truncheons. They beat us harshly, not giving us a chance to even raise our heads. They ordered us not to look back, but just to look at the floor. We stood there naked and they took turns beating us with truncheons and kicks. They would put a gun to our temples and threaten to shoot. They said that they had permission from their superiors to shoot us. After that, tearing some sheets, they made ropes and tied our hands behind our
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backs. Then they took us to the Andijan municipal police department. But there were also people who were beaten like us, in detention. When we sat in the car, one soldier ordered someone to put out his hand through the bars. Giyosiddin-aka stuck out his hand and the soldier put out a lit cigarette in it. We were ordered to get out of the car. When I got out, two healthy soldiers came to me and one of them said that I should open my mouth. I opened it and he put out his lit cigarette on my tongue and then ordered me to swallow the cigarette butt. I swallowed it. Then they brought us into a room and ordered us to lie on the ground facing down. They didn’t let us go to the toilet for a long time. One elderly man broke down and wet himself right there lying down. After that they took us to the street and told us that here we could urinate, but they didn’t untie our hands. We couldn’t take off our pants. They told us that we had very little time. I, like the others, had to urinate in my pants. In the room, they forced us again to lie facing down. They didn’t let us look up or roll over. They told me to sing the Uzbek national anthem and then they permitted me to roll over for one minute. And Giyosiddin-aka was ordered to tell a joke. He spoke with tears in his eyes. The soldiers abused us harshly and then walked over us in their military boots. Then they began to beat us. The next day, they brought us to the city jail. The place was full of people. The oldest son of Giyosiddin-aka was also there. They put us all in one cell. When in our cell we were asked to count off, my number was 82 or 87, I can’t remember exactly. When they beat his son in front of his very eyes, Giyosiddin-aka begged them not to beat him. He asked that they beat him instead of his son. And when they beat him, then his son begged that they spare his father, and instead, to beat him, his son. Thus, after several days after several interrogations, I saw that there was nothing living left on Giyossidin-aka’s body. His body was completely covered with bruises. We were forbidden from talking to him. After several days, I again found myself in the same cell with him. He sat in the corner, and his lips were terribly swollen. It was clear that they had been burned by cigarettes. He quietly asked whether I had seen his wife, daughter, or son. The soldiers said that they had raped his wife and daughter. It was our last time seeing him. I remember how he quietly, melancholically sat in the corner of the cell.
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Appendix 5. List of participants and witnesses to the events of 13 and 14 May, who are currently imprisoned
1. Abdulayev, Abdujabor (sentenced for 8 years)
2. Abdullaev, Hayrullo (sentenced for 17 years)
3. Abdullaev, Nurillo (sentenced for 12 years)
4. Abdullaev, Ulugbek
5. Abdullaev, Zaynobiddin (sentenced for 1 years)
6. Abdumalikov, Shuhrat (sentenced for 15 years)
7. Abdurahmonov, Rustam (sentenced for 16 years)
8. Abdukarimov, Sarvar (sentenced for 8 years)
9. Abduqodirova, Diloramhon (sentenced 12 years 10 months)
10. Achilov, Dilmurod (sentenced for 14 years)
11. Achilov, Dilmurod (sentenced for 16 years)
12. Addulaev, Shuhrat (sentenced for 8 years)
13. Arifhodjaev, Dilshod
14. Ahmedov, Ikromjon
15. Ahmedov, Bahtiyorjon
16. Akbardadaev, Otabek (sentenced for 11 years)
17. Akbarov, Rasuljon
18. Akbarov, Rustam
19. Akbaralie, Akmal (sentenced for 7 years)
20. Abdukarimov, Anvar (sentenced for 9 years)
21. Ashurov, Tohirjon (sentenced for 16 years)
22. Ashurov, Odil (sentenced for 7 years)
23. Asror (last name unknown)
24. Atabaev, Adaham (sentenced for 12 years)
25. Atabaev, Ravshan (sentenced for 12 years)
26. Atabekov, Anvarjon (sentenced for 17years)
27. Azimov, Avazhon (sentenced for 5 years)
28. Axunov, Komiljon (sentenced for 5 years)
29. Azimjonova, Muhabbat (sentenced for 6 years)
30. Azimov, Abdulaziz
31. Azizov, Ahmadali
32. Azizov, Ilyoshon
33. Ashurov, Bahodir (sentenced for 7 years)
34. Bahromov, Sotvoldi (sentenced for 15 years)
35. Bahtiyor (last name unknown)
36. Berdimurodov, Adham (sentenced for 8 years)
37. Berdimurodov, Akmal (sentenced for 8 years)
38. Bakiev, Nohidjon (sentenced for 17 years)
39. Bobojonov, Adham (sentenced for 4 years)
40. Bobojonov, Biloldin (sentenced for 5 years)
41. Boltaboev, Abdulahad
42. Boltahodjaev, Farhod (sentenced for 16 years)
43. Bozorboev, Arabboy
44. Bozorov, Ulugbek (sentenced for 17 years)
45. Dadaboev, Jamoldin (sentenced for 14 years)
46. Dadabaev, Adhamjon (sentenced 15 years 6 months)
47. Dadahodjaev, Ne’matilloh (sentenced for 15 years)
48. Dilmurod (last name unknown)
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49. Egamberdiev, Bahodir (sentenced 9 years 6 months)
50. Egamberdiev, Tolibjon
51. Egamberdiyev, Tavakkal (sentenced 14 years 6 months)
52. Ergashov, Abdulaziz
53. Ergashov, Nusratillo
54. Erkaev, Mamurjon (sentenced for 16 years)
55. Eshonov, Domlajon
56. Fozilov, Mirzabek (sentenced for 4 years)
57. Goipov, Tohirjon (sentenced for 7 years)
58. G’oziy?v, Abdulhofiz (sentenced for 20 years)
59. Hakimov, Alisher
60. Hamidov, Abdurauf (sentenced for 15 years)
61. Hasanov, Ilhom (sentenced for 13 years)
62. Hasanova, Dilbarhon
63. Hojimatov, Tavakkal
64. Holmirzayev, Ravshanbek (sentenced for 15 years)
65. Holmirzaev, Bahtiyor (sentenced for 15 years)
66. Hudayqulov, Hayrulloh (sentenced for 14 years)
67. Hudayqulov, Ne’matilloh (sentenced for 18 years)
68. Hujaev, Shuhrat (sentenced 4 years 6 months)
69. Ibragimov, Abdumalik (sentenced for 8 years)
70. Imomov, Alisher (sentenced for 15 years)
71. Imomov, Sodiqjon (sentenced for 18 years)
72. Imomov, Yunusbek
73. Imonqulov
74. Isaqov, Qudratbek
75. Iskandiyarov, Zohirjon (sentenced for 18 years)
76. Ismoilov, A`zamjon (sentenced 7 years 6 months)
77. Ismoilov, Ibrohim
78. Ismoilov, Nozimjon
79. Ismoilov, Omadjon
80. Ismoilov, Qahramonjon
81. Ismoilova, Zamirahon
82. Jabborov, Nodirbek
83. Jalilov, Turdivoy (sentenced 12 years 6 months)
84. Jalilov, Zohidjon
85. Jalilov, Sherzod (sentenced for 14 years)
86. Ikromov, Jalol (sentenced for 16 years)
87. Jasur (last name unknown)
88. Jumaboev, Ro’zibek
89. Kalandarov, Murodjon (sentenced 6 years 6 months)
90. Kambarov, Avazbek (sentenced for 14 years)
91. Kaminov, Najot (sentenced for 16 years)
92. Karimov, Nizomiddin (sentenced for 1 years)
93. Kasimov, Kozim (sentenced for 16 years)
94. Kenjaboy, Holmatov (sentenced for 17 years)
95. Kodirov, Abdulnosir (sentenced for 9 years)
96. Kodirov, Abdumuttolib (sentenced for 8 years)
97. Kodirov, Ilhom (sentenced for 8 years)
98. Kodirov, Muhammadjon
99. Kodiro, Muzaffar
100. Kodirov, Hotamjon (sentenced for 16 years)
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101. Kodirov, Hokimjon (sentenced for 14 years)
102. Komolhon (last name unknown)
103. Kosimov, Abduvohid (sentenced for 5 years)
104. Kuzinov, Halimjon (sentenced 15 years 6 months)
105. Madaliev, Ibrohim (sentenced for 16 years)
106. Madaliev, Ravshan (sentenced for 16 years)
107. Mahmudov, Abduhakim (sentenced for 5 years)
108. Mahmudov, Ahad (sentenced for 7 years)
109. Mahmudov, Ahror
110. Mahmudov, Hikmatulloh (sentenced for 14 years)
111. Mahmudov, Umid (sentenced for 18 years)
112. Maksadaliev, Anvarjon (sentenced for 17 years)
113. Maksudov, Nasibullo (sentenced for 17 years)
114. Mallaev, Hayitali (sentenced for 18 years)
115. Mallaev, Hudoyberdi (sentenced for 17 years)
116. Mallaev, Rustamjon (sentenced for 17 years)
117. Mallaev, Sharobiddin (sentenced for 15 years)
118. Mallaev, Suhbatillo
119. Mallaev, Usmonali
120. Mamadiev, Abdulaziz (sentenced for 15 years)
121. Mamajonov, Anvarjon
122. Mamayunusov, To’lqin (sentenced 15 years 6 months)
123. Mamazokirov, Zohidjon (sentenced for 16 years)
124. Mamurov, Olimjon
125. Maqsudov, Jahongir (sentenced for 11 years)
126. Matxolikov, Mamatxalil (sentenced for 15 years)
127. Mirzaboev, Bahodir (sentenced for 13 years)
128. Mirzaev, Barot (sentenced for 13 years)
129. Mirzahmatov, Muhsinbek (sentenced for 17 years)
130. Mirzaho’jayev, Ne’matillo (sentenced for 18 years)
131. Mirzajonov, Qobiljon (sentenced for 13 years)
132. Mirzakarimov, Bahtiyor (sentenced for 17 years)
133. Muhammmadiy (last name unknown)
134. Madaminov, Muhammadjon (sentenced 13 years 6 months)
135. Muhitdinov, Xusanboy
136. Madaliev, Murodjon (sentenced for 4 years)
137. Musahonov, Azizhon (sentenced 13 years 6 months)
138. Mutalliev, Ulug’bek (sentenced for 12 years)
139. Muydinov, Bohodir
140. Muydinov, Dilshodbek
141. Muydinov, Payzillo
142. Nadirov, Hayotillo (sentenced 14 years 6 months)
143. Nadirov, Hikmatillo (sentenced 12 years 6 months)
144. Nazarov, Javharillo
145. Nematov, Rahimjon (sentenced for 16 years)
146. Nizomov, Iqbol (sentenced for 13 years)
147. Nodirov, Dadahon
148. Nodirov, Gulomhon (sentenced for 18 years)
149. Nosirov, Shuhratbek
150. Nuriddinov, Isomiddin (sentenced for 7 years)
151. Omadillo (last name unknown)
152. Orifjon (last name unknown)
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153. Parpiev, Ahmadjon
154. Parpiev, Qobiljon
155. Pirmatov, Rasuljon (sentenced for 18 years)
156. Qahhorov, Utkir
157. Qambarov, Shavkatjon (sentenced for 5 years)
158. Qayumov, Abdumuhtor
159. Qo’chqarov, Ibrohim (sentenced for 16 years)
160. Qodirov, Homidjon
161. Qodiro, Ismoiljon
162. Qodirov, Shavkat (sentenced for 10 years)
163. Qosimjonov, Abdurashid (sentenced for 15 years)
164. Qurbanov, Dilyorbek (sentenced for 7 years)
165. Qurbonov, Yahshivoy
166. Qurbonov, Mahmut (sentenced for 17 years)
167. G’oziev, Abdulhafiz (sentenced for 20 years)
168. Rahimov, Odiljon (sentenced for 13 years)
169. Rasulov, Mamirjon
170. Rasulov, Muminjon
171. Rasulov, To’lqinjon (sentenced for 16 years)
172. Saidamirov, Avazbek (sentenced for 14 years)
173. Saidamirov, Rustamjon (sentenced 6 years 6 months)
174. Sadirov, Dilshodbek (sentenced for 13 years)
175. Samatov, Olimjon
176. Samatov, Qobil (sentenced for 16 years)
177. Saydullaev, Dilshodho’ja
178. Saydullaev, Saidakbar (sentenced for 12 years)
179. Saydullaev, Saidolim (sentenced for 16 years)
180. Sharipov, Abdumalik (sentenced for 18 years)
181. Shokirov, Shavkatbek
182. Sheraliev, Abdurashid
183. Sherzod (last name unknown)
184. Shokirov, Shokirjon
185. Shokirov, Abdumalik (sentenced for 16 years)
186. Shokirov, Shavkat (sentenced for 4 years)
187. Shokirov, Hasanboy (sentenced for 6 years)
188. Sobirov, Tursunboy (sentenced for 7 years)
189. Sodiqov, Bahodir
190. SolievNabijon (sentenced for 15 years)
191. Soliev, Hasanboy (sentenced for 8 years)
192. Soliev, Husanboy (sentenced for 13 years)
193. Soliev, Uktamjon (sentenced for 17 years)
194. Sultonov, Aqlbek
195. Sultonov, Avazbek (sentenced for 12 years)
196. Sultonov, Shoyatbek (sentenced for 17 years)
197. Tirkashov, Rasuljon (sentenced for 17 years)
198. Tohirjon (last name unknown) (sentenced for 16 years)
199. Tojimatov, Fahriddin (sentenced for 7 years)
200. Tojihalilov, Abdulatif
201. Tojihalilov, Rasulbek
202. Tojihalilov, Umidjon (sentenced for 14 years)
203. To’laev, Shokir (sentenced for 11 years)
204. Toshpulatov, Hasan
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205. Toshpulatov, Husanboy (sentenced 14 years 6 months)
206. Toshpulatov, Shuhrat (sentenced 14 years 6 months)
207. To’raqulov, Mansubek (sentenced 14 years 6 months)
208. Tuhtamatov, Mirzaolimjon
209. Turanboev, Abdurashid (sentenced for 14 years)
210. Turdaliev, Nosir
211. Turdiev, Bahtiyor (sentenced for 16 years)
212. Tursunov, Hasanboy
213. Turopov, Husan (sentenced for 18 years)
214. Turg’unov, O’tkirbek (sentenced for 20 years)
215. Ulugbek (last name unknown)
216. Umarov, Bahtiyor (sentenced for 11 years)
217. Umarov, Ibrohimjon (sentenced for 15 years)
218. Umarov, Nodirbek (sentenced for 20 years)
219. Umarov, Yunushon (sentenced for 14 years)
220. Umirzakov, Zamonbek (sentenced for 14 years)
221. Umirzakov, Yoqubjon (sentenced for 13 years)
222. Usmonov , Odiljon (sentenced for 14 years)
223. Usmonov, Alijon (sentenced for 11 years)
224. Usmonov, G’anijon
225. Usmonov, Habibullo
226. Usmonov, Mashrabjon
227. Valiohunov, Sanjarbek
228. Valioxunov, Utkirbek (sentenced for 15 years)
229. Vositjonov, Sodiqjon (sentenced for 14 years)
230. Yuldashev, Anvarjon
231. Yo’ldashev, Mirkomil (sentenced for 15 years)
232. Yuldashev, Usmon (sentenced for 11 years)
233. Yusupov, Shoxobiddin (sentenced for 16 years)
234. Yusupov, Gulomjon (sentenced for 7 years)
235. Yusupov, Ismoiljon (sentenced for 11 years)
236. Ziyaxo`jaev, Abdulaxad
237. Zohidbek (last name unknown) (sentenced for 14 years)
238. Zokirov, Hayrullo
239. Zokirov, Hokimhon
240. Zokirov, Murodhon
241. Zokirov, Sharobiddin
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Appendix 6. Additional map of the events on 13 May 2005
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Appendix 7. About the author
Bahtiyor Muhtarov
bahtiyormuhtarov@gmail.com
Citizen of Uzbekistan
Residential status in Finland
Employment – deputy director and head of the human rights division of the non-governmental organization “Andijan – Adolat va Tiklanish”
Location of Organization – Dusseldorf, Germany

http://andijonadolat.org/

http://eng.andijonadolat.org/

Bakhtiyor Mukhtarov was among the demonstrators and refugees granted political asylum in Western countries.
Bakhtiyor Mukhtarov was trained by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’ course on human rights in Warsaw, Poland. This study was a part of his coursework.

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