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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Uzbek 'inciter' shown confessing
By Ian MacWilliam
BBC Central Asia correspondent

Akram Yuldashev seen on Uzbek TV - 19/10/05
The court was shown a video recorded in July
The court trying 15 alleged Muslim extremists for starting an uprising in Uzbekistan has been shown a video of the alleged ringleader confessing.

The presiding judge said the court wanted to call Akram Yuldashev to give evidence in person.

But he has had tuberculosis for the past two years and cannot leave a prison hospital in Tashkent.

Instead, the prosecution showed a video of Mr Yuldashev being interrogated in July after the violence in Andijan.

In the 30-minute video Mr Yuldashev explained how he gave orders to his followers from prison by mobile phone, telling them to organise a prison breakout to free a group of businessmen on trial for religious extremism.

Mr Yuldashev was the inspiration behind a popular group of pious Muslims in Andijan who set up businesses and did charity work.

He is serving a 17-year jail sentence for alleged religious extremism.

A former employee of the Uzbek interior ministry has told the BBC that confessions in Uzbekistan are often forced by beatings or the use of drugs. The interior ministry denies this.

Meanwhile, the leader of an opposition group, Sunshine Uzbekistan, has written an open letter to the Uzbek parliament calling on deputies to begin talks with them.

The letter says the violence in Andijan was only possible because of the explosive political and economic situation.

It says people no longer believe the government of President Islam Karimov, which was engaged in what it called "an hysterical search for enemies".


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