Account of Rakhimov’s Arrest

by Nathan Hamm on 5/19/2005 · 4 comments

Bakhtiyor Rakhimov’s older sister, Yulduz Rakhimova, spoke to RFE/RL about her brother’s arrest.

“Today, between 4 and 5 a.m., some 30 armed people came to Bakhtiyor’s house. I think they were either soldiers or special forces. All of them had machine-guns. There were some thirty people. I didn’t count. I saw them in the window. They fired one shot. I looked and saw young men walking slowly like in movies,” Rakhimova said.

Rakhimova told RFE/RL that soldiers did not show any arrest warrant. She said they beat her brother before taking him away.

“While I was talking to them my brother got up,” she said. “Meanwhile, the armed men entered the room. Bakhtiyor said, “OK, OK” and asked them to go outside, so they don’t wake any children up. But soldiers entered the room where children were sleeping. I said, ‘There are kids here, they are going to be scared to death when they see your weapons’. They didn’t listen to me, handcuffed [Bakhtiyor], hit his head with the butt of the machine gun, started kicking. It went on for quite some time. They didn’t want him, didn’t ask any questions.”

Among those arrested was Rakhimov’s 13 year old son.

Rakhimova said her brother is not a member of a religious group. His description in the story as a religious, well-respected entrepreneur engaged in charitable activities makes him sound a lot like the 23 men who were arrested in Andijon. In fact, The Guardian carries a story (about NATO joining calls for an investigation into the Andijon massacre) suggesting a link.

Ikbol Mirsaitov, a Kyrgyz expert on Islam, said that the 23 Andijan businessmen whose trials sparked protests in the city last week, were linked to a local governor. He added that Mr Rakhimov, a wealthy farmer, had links to the group, claiming he was driven by business interests and only used Islamic slogans to generate support.

Like I said last night, there’s a good chance that Rakhimov was no more harmful than a respected Mormon businessman who takes care of his own. It’s hard to tell. We do get a bit edgy when we hear someone say that want to build laws based on the Koran after all.

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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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Jim H. May 20, 2005 at 1:25 am

Nathan- I came across this article at the online Newshour. The segment included two “experts” neither who sound as as ‘up to snuff’ as you! Here’s the link:

I see that even the experts still have many questions about just what happened as well as what caused it. I for one am glad I can come here and get your expertise. Thought I’d pass it on.

Great work. I went to the site to hear you but it’s late and I couldn’t get it to work. I will try tomorrow.

julia May 20, 2005 at 6:15 am

If anybody can read French, Le Monde website has quite a lot of coverage on the events in Andizhan. This article reports that Karimov has rejected the idea of an international inquiry, and has a quote from the leader of Erk, calling for the US to cut its ties with the regime. He claims that Islamists would not take over if Karimov was removed from power, as a moderate opposition exists in Uzbekistan – his party.,1-0@2-3216,36-651905@51-627377,0.html

Also, on the possibility of American involvement in the recent events, Patrick Dombrowsky, a professor of IR, notes that the Andizhan protests came two weeks after Uzbekistan left the pro-American GUAM…but doesn’t read much into this. He also briefly discusses the role of China in the region, and gives some background on Hizb-ut-Tahrir.,46-0@2-3214,55-650615,0.html

Nathan May 20, 2005 at 8:38 am

Crap! I knew the guy from Jamestown was going to be on, but I’m kind of disappointed I missed Kimmage.

Honestly Jim, I got nothing on him. He’s awesome. Some of my better insights I’ve learned from his reporting and analysis.

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