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Kyrgyzstan arrests six suspected organizers of Uzbek Andijan uprising

[JURIST] Kyrgyz security forces have arrested six men who reportedly confessed to organizing last year's unrest in Uzbekistan [JURIST news archive] that resulted in the massacre of unarmed Uzbek civilians [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] by government troops in Andijan. Uzbek officials said the men confessed to Kyrgystan's SNB security service, and a Kyrgyz police spokesman said one of the suspects possessed 14 ounces of TNT. In May 2005, thousands of demonstrators protesting the trial of 23 businessmen on religious extremism charges stormed a prison [JURIST report], allowing about 2,000 inmates including the businessmen to escape. In response, the government troops killed as many as 500 demonstrators [JURIST report].

At least 180 have been jailed on accusations of involvement in the uprising, including several members of the opposition who publicly criticized the government of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. A human rights advocate was tried in January on charges [JURIST report] of undermining the constitutional system and assisting terrorism for aiding journalists covering the uprising and telephoning foreign embassies. An Uzbek court also sentenced 11 policemen, soldiers, and prison doctors [JURIST report] to prison terms ranging from 1.5 to 11 years for their complicity in the uprising last year. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.

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