2005 Andijan Massacre: A Survivor Appeals for Justice

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2005 Andijan Massacre: A Survivor Appeals for Justice

May 12, 2014 Open Society Justice Initiative

NEW YORK—The Uzbek government is being called to account before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) over its record of repression in the eastern city of Andijan, the scene of a massacre of unarmed protestors in 2005 that left hundreds dead.

Husanboy Ruziyev, a survivor of the Andijan killings, is filing a petition before the HRC that accuses the Uzbek police and security services of subjecting him to torture and illegal detention in 2004, and of failing to properly investigate the 2005 violence.

Ruziyev is being represented by the Open Society Justice Initiative and by Fiery Hearts Club, an international human rights group initially founded in the Ferghana Valley region around Andijan, and now registered and operating in exile in Paris. Ruziyev himself is now living in the Netherlands where he was resettled after being granted asylum.

Ruziyev said: “I am filing a complaint with the United Nations not just for myself, but for the people in Uzbekistan who continue to go through the same suffering that I have gone through. I am slowly recovering from the abuses committed against me, but I cannot forget those who stay inside the country, who are in prisons now.”

The petition describes how Ruziyev, a businessman in the Andijan region, was detained on multiple occasions between 2003 and 2004, as the government launched a campaign against dissent which it said was tied to Islamic extremism. While under arrest, Ruziyev was tortured in a bid to force him to falsely incriminate others. In May 2004 he was so severely beaten by police that he fell into a coma that lasted for four days, and spent 23 days in hospital.

On 13 May 2005, he was among thousands of unarmed protesters who gathered at Bobur Square in Andijan for a protest that reflected growing popular discontent over the economy and government abuses. Uzbekistan government forces subsequently opened fire on the crowd.

Ruziyev and others managed to escape the square. They fled the city by night, walking some 50km to the border with Kyrgyzstan, where they were again fired on by Uzbek security forces. He was among approximately 545 men, women, and children who were later able to cross the border into Kyrgyzstan, and who were later resettled in third countries as refugees.

He continues to receive psychological care for the injuries he suffered as a result of his abuse at the hands of the police and security services. Previous complaints about his detention and torture to the prosecutors and courts in Uzbekistan have been disregarded.

The Uzbek government has maintained that protestors were responsible for all the deaths in the square, and gives an official death toll of 187 individuals. Reports from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have estimated that from 500 to 700 people were killed.

The government of Uzbekistan has refused to allow an independent international investigation of the massacre, and has repeatedly asserted in a range of international forums that it considers the issue to be closed. It has also sought to cover-up both the scale of the killings and evidence of the responsibility of Uzbek security forces in the shootings, with a continuing campaign of intimidation and abuse aimed at persons linked to the Andijan refugees, including survivors, family members, human rights defenders and journalists.

Mutabar Tadjibayeva, director of Fiery Hearts Club, said: “This complaint is a reminder to the Uzbekistan government and to the international community that the massacre victims are still waiting for justice. It is also a direct call for legal responsibility of the authorities.”

James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said: “We call on Uzbekistan to allow an independent international investigation into the Andijan killings, as well as into credible and numerous allegations of the torture being systematically used by the police and security services.”

The 68-page complaint to the United Nations argues that Uzbekistan has violated Mr. Rusiyev’s rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in at least seven ways: Unlawful and arbitrary detention (Article 9), torture, violations of the right to life and personal security (Articles 6 and 9), forced expulsion (Article 12), failure to investigate killings and torture (Articles 6, 7 and 2(3)), and failure to provide redress (Articles 6, 7, 9 and 2(3)).



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