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Human rights monitor says 200 killed in Uzbek protests

[JURIST] The head of Uzbekistan's Independent Human Rights Organization was quoted Saturday as saying that some 200 people were killed in the eastern city of Andijan Friday [JURIST report] when government forces backed by tanks opened fire on demostrators in the central square of the city protesting government repression in the wake of a trial of 23 Muslim businessmen charged with extremism. Speaking to reporters in Tashkent, Uzbek President Islam Karimov [official profile] said that 10 government soldiers and "many more" protestors had been killed in the disturbance. A number of protestors returned to the Andijan city center Saturday, while thousands of other Uzbeks fled toward the border with Kyrgyzstan. The International Association For Democratic Reforms in Uzbekistan has posted online video [WMP] from Friday's Andijan riots. Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan, has been an important US ally in the "war on terror", although its government has been repeatedly accused of torture and repression [Human Rights Watch backgrounders]. AP has more.

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