Andijon Prison Death Toll Grows With Fresh Protester Death
July 08, 2011
ANDIJON, Uzbekistan -- A man who took part in antigovernment protests in the southern Uzbek city of Andijon six years ago has died in prison, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.
Abdumannon Ortiqov, 34, was convicted of terrorism for his role in the 2005 Andijon protests, which were brutally suppressed by Uzbek security forces and led to hundreds of deaths.
The Andijon Justice and Revival Organization responding by saying it knows of 10 Andijon protesters who have died in Uzbek prisons since 2010.
Rustam Sobitov, a friend of Ortiqov and member of the Andijon Justice and Revival Organization in Sweden, told RFE/RL on July 7 that Ortiqov died in prison on June 24.
He said Ortiqov, who was in the final days of his prison term, had been taken to a hospital in serious condition one day earlier.
Sobitov said Ortiqov's family received the body on June 24 and buried it the next day. He said Ortiqov's father visited his son in prison in early June and reported that Ortiqov was in good physical and mental condition.
Sobitov said Ortiqov's family told him they found evidence of beatings on his body and cuts on his head and chest.
He said that according to prison officials, Ortiqov was taken to an isolation ward 25 days before the end of his sentence.
Sobitov said Ortiqov was tried again on unknown charges and given an additional prison term. He said prison officers said Ortiqov suffered a heart attack after being told about the sentence.
Sobitov said that he and Ortiqov had left Uzbekistan for Kyrgyzstan on May 13, 2005. Sobitov added that Kyrgyz police detained them both but let him go because he was registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
He said six other Uzbeks who were with him, including Ortiqov, were extradited to Uzbekistan, where they were tried and imprisoned on terrorism charges.
The Andijon Justice and Revival Organization said it has the names of 241 people who have been imprisoned on charges related to Andijon massacre, when security forces opened fire on hundreds of protesters, including of the 10 inmates who have died in prison.
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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