Daily archives: August 11, 2009

Newsnight Investigation of Uzbek Defector

BBC 2 Newsnight have been working for three months now on the claims of Uzbek security service defector Ikram Yakubov.


I think finally the piece will be broadcast tonight, although there have been several postponements already. For me Yakubov’s most interesting evidence is that he accompanied a CIA man to an interrogation, and the CIA man was actually in the room during the torture of a detainee, rather than just handing over questions to the Uzbeks.

But I think the Newsnight piece may be focusing on the probable murder by Karimov of Richard Conroy, the British acting Head of the UN mission in Uzbekistan. I cover this at length in Murder in Samarkand, but could not prove what informants were telling me. Yakubov claims to have knowledge from inside the security services.

I was interviewed by Newsnight for the piece, over a month ago. I presume some of this will be included. It remains a remarkable fact that Yakubov has not been debriefed by MI6, because the Uzbek security services are regarded as allies by the UK. The last thing the government wants is any official record of CIA involvement in torture (the intelligence from which will have been shared with MI6), or of Karimov’s ivolvement in the Andijan massacre, or in the death of Richard Conroy.

Yakubov has been granted political asylum in the UK, but last week he telephoned me to say he was being turfed out of his government provided accommodation and is now homeless.

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