Deadly riots in Uzbekistan: three police officers charged

Uzbek protesters during their trial on January 31, 2023 in Bukhara. AFP

Uzbekistan announced on Thursday February 9 the first indictment of members of the police for their role in the repression of the anti-government riots which officially left 21 dead last summer, in this authoritarian country of Central Asia.

Unjustified use of lethal force

“Charges have been brought against three people in connection with the investigation into misconduct by law enforcement officers,” the attorney general’s office said. According to the same source, which does not specify the charges, the suspects were remanded in custody.

The NGO Human Rights Watch had denounced an “unjustified use of lethal force” by the authorities after checking several dozen videos of the demonstrations.

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171 people prosecuted

On July 1 and 2, 2022, protests erupted in the Karakalpakstan region to denounce a draft revision of the Constitution which planned to reduce the autonomy of this republic to the desert territory, among the poorest in Uzbekistan.

The prosecution indicated in mid-December that 171 people were being prosecuted: sixteen have already been sentenced to terms of three to 16 years in prison and 39 are currently on trial.

Uzbekistan, which is gradually opening up after years of repressive policies under ex-president Islam Karimov, has highlighted the transparency of the judicial system in this case. But the list of victims is still not available and the circumstances of the deaths have not been revealed.

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