Daily archives: October 6, 2005

Uzbek preacher ‘died of torture’

From BBC Online

An Uzbek imam has died in prison as a result of torture, his relatives and a rights activist claim. Shavkat Madumarov was serving seven years in jail for alleged ties with Wahhabis, strict Muslims who shun state-controlled mosques.

The Uzbek authorities have said that Madumarov died last month from an HIV infection and anaemia. His family say they were not allowed to see his body.

The UN has described the use of torture in Uzbek jails as “systematic”. Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, made similar claims, publicising the case of an Uzbek prisoner whom a British pathologist concluded had died from being immersed in boiling liquid.

Rights activist Surat Ikramov told the BBC Uzbek service that Madumarov’s family saw the imam three days before his death, at the final session of his trial. They said he was unable to stand and was brought in on a stretcher.

He complained to the judge that he had been given lots of injections, and that he did not know why, but the judge did not listen, Mr Ikramov said.

His relatives deny that he was HIV-positive, and say he was in good health before his detention in February.

Other cases

The case comes in the wake of several arrests of activists in Uzbekistan.

There are concerns about a human rights worker who is being confined in a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Tashkent, and three students from the capital who disappeared two weeks ago after mounting a brief protest outside the American embassy calling for political reforms.

BBC Central Asia correspondent Ian MacWilliam says there has been a wave of arrests of government critics in Uzbekistan since an outbreak of violence in the town of Andijan four months ago.

Witnesses say Uzbek troops opened fire on a popular protest, killing hundreds of civilians.

The Uzbek government says 187 people died, in what it called an uprising to create an Islamic state.

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U.S. Senate defies Bush and imposes restrictions on prisoner abuse

A bill sponsored by Senator John McCain seeks to establish humane treatemnt of US prisoners. See CBC for the full report.

“The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to impose restrictions on the treatment of terrorism suspects, delivering a rare wartime rebuke to President George W. Bush.

Defying the White House, senators voted 90-9 to approve an amendment that would prohibit “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

The amendment was added to a $440-billion military spending bill for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The proposal, sponsored by Senator John McCain, also requires all service members to follow procedures in the Army Field Manual when they detain and interrogate terrorism suspects.

Bush administration officials said the legislation would limit the president’s authority and flexibility in war.

But legislators from each party have said Congress must provide U.S. troops with clear standards for detaining, interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects in light of allegations of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay and the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

“We demanded intelligence without ever clearly telling our troops what was permitted and what was forbidden. And when things went wrong, we blamed them and we punished them,” said McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“Our troops are not served by ambiguity. They are crying out for clarity and Congress cannot shrink from this duty,” said McCain an Arizona Republican.

The Senate is expected to vote on the overall spending bill by weeks’ end. The U.S. House of Representatives-approved version of it does not include the prisoner provisions. It is unclear how much support the measure has in the Republican-run House.”

As commented by the BBC:

“…the White House views any codifying of rules for interrogation as potentially restrictive and a possible source of legal insecurity for US troops.”

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