In the strongest statement by US officials since Uzbekistan carried out a bloody crackdown earlier this month against a revolt and demonstration in the city of Andizhan, three US senators on Sunday called for an international investigation into the violence, and issued a stern rebuke to the authoritarian regime.
The senators' statement came amid new details of the conduct of Uzbek security forces during and after the violence, including claims that injured victims have disappeared from hospitals, and that troops had fired on a civilian ambulance during the crackdown, killing three medical workers inside.
The accounts further undermine the insistence of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan's president and a US ally in the "war on terror," that his troops operated with precision, and that armed men behind the revolt were responsible for the civilians deaths.
Uzbekistan now says 173 people, including 36 government troops, died in the uprising and crackdown on May 13. The government attributed the increase from the previous count of 169 to the deaths of four more troops from injuries suffered that day.
Human rights groups, opposition parties, survivors and relatives of the dead have said that at least several hundred civilians were killed by troops who fired rifles and machine guns into dense crowds.
Appearing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital, where the senators met with members of four opposition parties, the delegation called the crackdown "a tragedy," and suggested that given Uzbekistan's long record of repression and human rights abuses, the bloodshed was not surprising.
"History shows that continued repression of human rights leads to tragedies such as the one that just took place," said Senator John McCain, Republican-Arizona. He later added: "When governments repress or oppress their people, sooner or later, if they have no avenue of expressing their desire for freedom, violence takes place."
The statement, made in the presence of the US ambassador to Uzbekistan, was a significant shift in tone. The three senators, all Republican supporters of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism efforts, did not characterize the gunmen or escaped prisoners who initiated the revolt as militants or terrorists, as some US officials have.
Uzbekistan has repeatedly described the men it fought as international Islamic terrorists, a characterization rejected by witnesses, who said the gunmen were local men who had been pushed to violence by the unrelenting repression and corruption of Karimov's regime.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies