A witness at the trial of 15 men charged with involvement in a May uprising in Uzbekistan said Friday that he saw militants carrying several syringes in government building seized by rebels.
The testimony by a building guard identified only by his last name, Boyboyev, echoed Uzbek state media claims that the suspected militants had been using drugs.
Rights groups say defendants' testimony in the carefully orchestrated trial was coerced through torture.
In St. Petersburg, Uzbek President Islam Karimov thanked President Vladimir Putin on Friday for supporting his country following the Andijan uprising and called for the countries' relations to be strengthened.
Karimov turned to Moscow for support after the United States and other Western nations publicly criticized Uzbekistan for the government suppression of the uprising and joined demands for an international investigation.
Russia, as well as China, responded with a strong show of support.
"The events in Andijan have show again who is who," Karimov said Friday in televised comments. "The time has come not only for a strategic partnership but for the relations of allies."
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.
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