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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Uzbeks charged with 'coup plot'
By Ian MacWilliam
BBC, Tashkent

A man looks at a car burning in Andijan, Uzbekistan
Tashkent says the protesters wanted to start a revolution
The deputy state prosecutor in Uzbekistan has outlined the charges against the first 15 men accused of trying to overthrow the government.

Anvar Nabiyev named the men accused of organising the disturbances in the town of Andijan in May.

Their trials are due to begin in five days' time.

Mr Nabiyev also accused neighbouring Kyrgyzstan of allowing religious extremists to use its territory to prepare for the uprising.

Accompanied by photographs and details of each individual, he referred repeatedly to them as terrorists and explained what each was accused of.

The charges included shooting hostages, forcing civilians at gunpoint to take part in an anti-government demonstration and membership of banned religious organisations.

Reading from an hour-long prepared text, the deputy prosecutor then gave a detailed account of the Andijan disturbances, when a group of men in the eastern town broke into a jail to free a group of detainees on trial for alleged Islamic extremism.

Media bias

This was followed by an anti-government protest which Tashkent says was an attempt to start another revolution, similar to those in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

Eyewitnesses and human rights groups say that Uzbek troops killed hundreds of unarmed civilians when they opened fire on the protest, but Tashkent denies this.

Mr Nabiyev went on to list specific sites in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan where he said militants had trained for the uprising, and suggested the Kyrgyz government knew of these plans.

He also accused the western and international media, including the BBC, of knowing about the supposed uprising beforehand in order to publicise it and to spread disinformation about the Uzbek government.

The state media in Uzbekistan has been repeating the government's versions of these events for some months now, but this is the most detailed account given so far.

Coming so soon ahead of the trials, international human rights groups are bound to accuse the government of having declared the accused guilty before their trials even begin.


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