[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Uzbekistan denies using torture
By Ian MacWilliam
BBC Central Asia correspondent

Defendants charged with terrorism sit in the supreme court of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, 20 September 2005.
The 15 defendants have all given long accounts of their alleged crime
The Uzbek authorities have denied reports that illegal methods may have been used to force confessions from 15 men on trial over an uprising.

The men were arrested after a violent anti-government protest in the eastern town of Andijan in May.

They are accused of trying to start an Islamic revolution.

The BBC has reported remarks by a former Uzbek interior ministry employee that beatings or psychotropic drugs are often used to force confessions.

The Uzbek interior ministry said in a written statement that the accused men in the trial under way in Tashkent had been treated according to the law from the moment of their arrest.

The statement went on to say that neither the defendants, nor their lawyers, had at any time claimed that illegal interrogation methods were used.

The statement called into question the remarks made by the former interior ministry employee to the BBC.

This employee, who cannot be named for his own security, said that people accused of political and religious crimes were often forced to confess by injecting them with psychotropic drugs, or by threatening members of their families.


These remarks, said the statement, were not based on fact.

It went on to say that only the court had the right to judge the evidence of the investigation and warned that what it described as "fabrications" about the on-going trial could influence the final decision.

The 15 defendants at the Andijan trial have all pleaded guilty to charges that they were trying to overthrow the Uzbek government and set up an Islamic state.

All have given long and detailed testimonies in court, incriminating themselves and scores of other named individuals - many of whom are currently under investigation.

Allegations about the use of torture or drugs to obtain confessions in the Uzbek judicial system have been made repeatedly in the past by human rights groups and the United Nations.

The Uzbek government has always denied them.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific