Samarkand Protest

by Nathan Hamm on 6/9/2005

Protest flares in the Samarkand Oblast in defense of an arrested opposition member, 08 June 2005
Translated by David Walther

The editors of “” have been informed by a leader of the “Free Farmers” opposition party, Nirgara Hitoyatova, that on the collective farm “Bobur Ishtikhanskii” in the Samarkand region there is currently a mass protest and people’s movement in which as many as 600 people are participating. They came out because, as Hidoyatova says, this last Sunday agents of the SNB (National Security Service) arrested a local human rights activist and active “Free Farmers” member Norboi Holzhigitov. He had recently been trying to initiate a reexamination of the total privatization of the Bobur collective farm, which, in his opinion, was privatized unlawfully. Because of this he had been receiving threats from representatives of the local government.

“On Sunday SNB agents took him away,” reported Hidoyatova by telephone. “They tried to get him to take 2,000,000 so’ms (about $1900) but he didn’t want to take it. They led everyone away from the table where he was sitting with his companions, and took pictures of him with these big bags of money and then put handcuffs on him. Here in this country there isn’t any cash available, and they wanted to bribe him under the table… then they took him away, but no one knows [where he is now]. So this morning people started to gather here from the surrounding villages–they want to know what his fate will be and demand his freedom.”

The Bobur collective farm is surrounded by police, who won’t let anyone into the area. All cars are being ordered to stop before they can even enter the raion (like a county).

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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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