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Thursday, August 11, 2005

 

Uzbek government screens Andijon propaganda films

From Radio Free Europe:

The fight for the hearts and minds of Uzbeks has intensified since the Andijon bloodshed on 13 May. The government has clamped down on independent journalists and led a campaign against foreign media for reports that contradict the official version of the events. State propaganda now seems to be getting the upper hand, with television broadcasts of so-called "documentaries" about Andijon. One of the films shows Akram Yuldoshev, whom the government accuses of founding the alleged Akramiya Islamist group. In the film, Yuldoshev admits to being behind the May unrest -- despite the fact that he has been in prison since 1999.

The film "Temptation Leading Toward The Abyss" was broadcast on Uzbek state television on 30 July.

In the documentary, Yuldoshev also appears to implicate another alleged Akramiya member, Qobiljon Parpiev, in the unrest. Parpiev, who was in the Andijon regional administration building on 13 May and held negotiations with Uzbek Interior Minister Zakir Almatov, managed to escape the violence. He fled Uzbekistan and instantly became one of the country's most wanted men. Parpiev spoke to RFE/RL from an undisclosed location.

"I haven't seen the film myself, but I spoke to those who had," Parpiev said. "They and I believe [Yuldoshev] was in a very difficult situation. He was tortured, because he looked very different -- not like he looked before, when some people visited him [in prison]. He looked very thin and exhausted. It was clear that he was tortured."

Another film, "The Flame of Ignorance," was broadcast on 5 August and was devoted to Andijon city prosecutor Ganijon Abdurahimov, who was killed, allegedly by Andijon militants, on 13 May.

Parpiev saw this video but said it was government troops -- not his fellow demonstrators -- who murdered Abdurahimov.

Another video, “The Night That Shook the Golden Valley,” broadcast on 16 July, accuses the international community of “having geopolitical interests in Central Asia” that have led to “attempts by some major powers to make Central Asia dependent on them” and “bring Uzbekistan under their control."

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