I wonder if Chimpy has a nickname for his pal Islam Karimov? If so, it’s probably something like “Pissed-On-Holy-Book-Guy”.
The Uzbek government’s crackdown on protesters can only be described as a massacre, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday, appealing to the United States to suspend cooperation with the Central Asian country until it permits an independent international investigation.
The New York-based group said it interviewed 50 victims and witnesses who testified that government troops fired repeatedly on protesters gathered in a square, killing many as they fled into surrounding streets. It did not attempt to estimate the number killed, but the accounts were in line with estimates in the high hundreds.
“The scale of this killing was so extensive, and its nature was so indiscriminate and disproportionate, that it can best be described as a massacre,” the group said in its report on the May 13 unrest in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan, presented at a news conference in Moscow.
The international Red Cross said Tuesday that Uzbekistan’s government is denying it access to people injured or arrested in the unrest. The agency also has been unable to establish contact with regional authorities in the eastern city of Andijan, the Red Cross said in a statement.
“We now feel that a clear response from Tashkent has become urgent,” said Reto Meister, Red Cross chief for Asia and the Pacific, referring to the Uzbek capital.
Human Rights Watch said that if the Uzbek government continues to resist calls for an international investigation, Washington should withdraw its military base from Uzbekistan and “bring to an end its post-Sept. 11 strategic partnership” with the country. It said the European Union should also suspend its cooperation.
Photos courtesy of The Memory Hole.