The Sun Rose in the East Today!

by Nathan Hamm on 10/20/2004 · 6 comments

And in other unsurprising news, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK is upset over the Murray affair.

Sir, Any suggestion that Craig Murray, the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, has been removed from his post for raising human rights concerns is extremely alarming (“UK envoy to Uzbekistan removed ‘for speaking out’ “, October 16).

Like Mr Murray, we have criticised the Uzbek authorities for their dire human rights record – including the detention of thousands of people on political or religious grounds, systematic torture, unfair trials, deaths in custody and persecution of religious minorities, gay men and human rights activists.

Mr Murray’s stance has garnered much support from Uzbek human rights defenders. He is a man, according to Tamara Chikunova, founder of the Uzbek organisation Mothers against the Death Penalty, who “knows the value of truth and conscience”. His removal coincides with fresh news of two men facing secret execution in Tashkent. A mother of one of these prisoners has learnt that guards have said to her son: “You will not live longer than November 12.”

In a country where torture and execution are two sides of the same coin, we need more, not less, of Mr Murray’s outspokenness.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Laurence October 20, 2004 at 2:35 pm

Just wonder whether Amnesty ever protested the alleged beatings of Uzbeks by a British diplomat with a stick and a Rottweiller?

BDC October 21, 2004 at 7:21 am

If that pitbull and baseball bat thing happened at all it is indeed goonish and despicable but does not compare with over 7,000 political prisoners languishing in torture cellars and prison camps for the sole fact that they are Muslims, isn’t it?

I wonder what your motives or interests behind advocating that regime are. Gullibility or something else?

Nathan Hamm October 21, 2004 at 7:42 am

“Gullibility or something else?”

Please see the comments policy.

I’ll give you a little more in depth answer when I’m in the office.

Laurence October 21, 2004 at 8:24 am

BDC, There are over 20 million Muslims in Uzbekistan, so if 7,000 are in jail, it is cannot be because of religion. It must be due to “something else.”

BDC October 21, 2004 at 8:37 am

That “something else” is, that most were considered devout and singled out to serve as dissuading examples for the other 19,933,001+ by a pathologically anti-Islamic regime.

Nathan October 21, 2004 at 9:31 am

Sorry dude, but that is 100% grade-a bullshit.

The regime is, like its predecessor but to a much lesser extent, paranoid about any independent organization outside of its control. They freaked out about an English club we opened. They hassled the protestant demonination in my town. They are intensely worried about Hare Krishnas and Jehovah’s Witnesses. As I mentioned before, the heads of a Christian missionary group were beaten close to death in their home when I was in Tashkent. In my experience, the only people who are dead-set convinced that Karimov’s government is “pathologically anti-Islamic” are the consumers and producers of Islamic chauvinist propaganda.

Considering the wide range of those who draw the government’s ire, the anti-Islamic explanation just doesn’t cut it for me. Sure, most of the victims are Muslims, but then most people in Uzbekistan are in fact Muslims.

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