Uzbekistan trial of Muslim businessmen triggers rioting, mass prison break

[JURIST] At least 12 people were killed Friday when thousands of people took to the streets of the eastern Uzebekistan city of Andijan to protest the highly publicized and controversial trial for extremism of 23 Muslim businessmen. Over 2,000 government prisoners were set free when militants stormed a high security prison and other key government buildings, apparently in the hopes of freeing those charged. Troops opened fire to contain the disturbances. Some reports say that dozens of people may have died [Eurasia.net report] as government forces backed by tanks and armored vehicles retook the city center. In another region of Uzbekistan, the US embassy in Tashkent reported that a suicide bomber was shot dead outside the Israeli embassy, halting a probable attack on the embassy, and security forces have reported that the Tashkent situation is under control. Observers are concerned that disorder in Uzbekistan [government website, English version] could greatly destabilize the Central Asian region [Interfax report]; the US maintains a military presence in the country at the former Soviet Karshi-Khanabad airbase. A local newspaper has reported that the protestors are demanding the resignation of the current government [Muslim Uzbekistan report, in English]. AFP has more.



 

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