UK Embassy Bash Falls Foul of Uzbek Secret Police

The – Guardian – UK Embassy Bash Falls Foul of Uzbek Secret Police: It is an event more usually associated with cocktails, canapes and polite laughter. But in Uzbekistan, the annual party held by the British embassy in honour of the Queen’s birthday has been the object of dark threats from the secret police.

Furious with the efforts of the British ambassador, Craig Murray, to highlight human rights abuses in the country, the Uzbek security services have warned everyone from government officials to local musicians not to attend.

A source close to the embassy said: “Prominent Uzbeks were invited to attend. But they have been getting phone calls from the secret police telling them it would be bad for their health to be there.”

At least 20 Uzbek guests rang the embassy to say they would come anyway. The callers said the Uzbek security services, or SNB, had made the majority of threats.

The Uzbek government then summoned a host of prominent musicians to the prime minister’s office for a meeting on Monday. “They were told they would be banned from performing in public or in the media if they played at the party,” said the source.

The renowned Uzbek folk singer Sherali, who has already been banned by the government, was top of the bill at the party.

“What are they going to do?” asked the source. “Ban him twice?”