Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Ethnic Uzbeks Jailed For Life For Kyrgyzstan Clashes After Forced Confession

Posted by Info on 25/11/2010

Nearly 400 people died in the clashes in June between Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks – a majority of the casualties are thought to have been Uzbeks.The riots followed weeks of political turmoil after the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in a mass uprising in April.

Human rights activists accuse the Kyrgyz authorities of singling out ethnic Uzbeks for prosecution.While some ethnic Kyrgyz have also been tried in cases related to the June violence, human rights organisations say that ethnic Uzbek defendants outnumber the Kyrgyz.
Since the violence the new authorities, led by President Roza Otunbayeva, have created the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia. She denied any ethnic bias in the trials.

Several lawyers who have been working on cases related to the June violence have told the BBC that they have been threatened by relatives of the victims and unknown groups of people who attend court hearings and behave aggressively. A lawyer who represented four of the defendants said the judge’s decision was politically motivated and that her clients’ guilt had never been proven. Her clients were forced to confess under duress and that during the court hearings they denied their earlier statements.

Still 17 ethnic Uzbeks have been jailed for life.

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