A new religion-related murder in Tashkent?

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by Noah Tucker on 8/14/2009

Around 11 August the news broke on several forums that Hasan Asadov was shot to death in his apartment on 9 August. According to the initial reports, he was either the “head of the Interior Ministry’s Terrorism and Anti-Corruption department” or “worked in the department” (Ferghana.ru and Uzmetronom, respectively).

Today, though, Eurasianet is running a story in its briefs that claims to have found an alternate source that contradicts the basic facts of the earlier story and causes a very different potential pattern to emerge.

An Interior Ministry Official shot dead in Tashkent on August 9 was tasked with keeping religious organizations in line, sources tell EurasiaNet. “His job was to keep tabs on the various religious factions in Tashkent; his murder was ’pay back,’” the source claimed on August 14. Hasan Asadov was shot five times at point blank range in his apartment. Uzbek media reports described him as a manager at the ministry’s anti-terrorism and corruption unit.

The Eurasianet story goes on to explicitly posit a link between this most recent murder, the 31 July attack on Anvarqori Tursunov (see last week’s post here at Registan.net) and the murder of another Tashkent religious official, Abror Abrorov, two weeks earlier.

There’s no way to judge the level of knowledge of Eurasianet’s anonymous source, so it’s clearly too early to say anything objective about the likelihood of a connection here. I found it unusual that Eurasianet says “Uzbek media” misled on the story about where Hasan Asadov actually worked and what he actually did. Ferghana.ru has its own sources and usually can be depended on to question the Uzbek MSM says, but so far they have reported no controversy about Asadov’s job description. This is a story to watch for the next few days to see if any other outlets find sources who confirm Eurasianet’s claims.

Please feel free to add links to any other stories in the comments and I’ll update this post in a couple of days if more information becomes available.

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This post was written by...

– author of 54 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Noah Tucker is managing editor at Registan.net and an associate at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affairs Central Asia Program. Noah is a researcher and consultant for NGO, academic and government clients on Central Asian society and culture. He has worked on Central Asian issues since 2002--specializing in religion, national identity, ethnic conflict and social media--and received an MA from Harvard in Russian, E. European and Central Asian Studies in 2008. He has spent four and half years in the region, primarily in Uzbekistan, and returned most recently for fieldwork in Southern Kyrgyzstan in the summers of 2011 and 2012.

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