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."
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.