Uzbek prosecutor-general denies responsibility for civilian shootings Jamie Sterling at 3:10 PM ET
[JURIST] Uzbekistan Prosecutor-General Rashid Kadyrov Tuesday denied reports that Uzbek government forces opened fire on demonstrators [JURIST report] Friday who were protesting government repression in the eastern city of Andijan. Although Kadyrov claimed that no civilians were killed by government fire, hundreds of witnesses reported that the government troops did shoot into a crowd of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators, killing many [JURIST report]. Kadyrov reported 169 dead and said that reports released by foreign governments and human rights groups estimating the number killed at near 500 were an attempt to portray Uzbekistan's government as tyrannical. Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov joined Kadyrov in accusing Western and Russian media of biased reporting. Amnesty International [advocacy website] meanwhile has called "on the authorities of Uzbekistan to allow a prompt and independent investigation into the events with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice". Read the AI press release. The advocacy group is concerned that the violence in Andijan will prompt the government to crack down further on citizens' rights and freedom of expression. The government announced that it will escort 15 ambassadors and numerous members of the media [Aljazeera report] to Andijan Wednesday to relieve foreign governments and rights groups' criticisms of the government in Uzbekistan. Reuters has more.
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