Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tragedy in Osh

Terrible news from the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan yesterday. Journalist and newspaper publisher Alisher Saipov—an ethnic Uzbek who worked tirelessly to expose the brutality of the regime of Islam Karimov in neighboring Uzbekistan—was shot to death near his office.

Details are sketchy, but many suspect that Uzbek security forces, who have been known to operate in and around Osh, were behind the murder. Saipov, publisher of the Uzbek-language newspaper Siyosat (Politics), was only 26.

This excerpt from the report is a real heartbreaker:
It is hard to believe in such cruelty and injustice. Alisher fathered a daughter two months ago and was extremely happy about her. He had to live…
Saipov, like many in the Uzbek community, was galvanized by the massacre of nearly 1,000 civilians in the Ferghana Valley city of Andijon in 2005. Ken Silverstein wrote an important article in Harpers about how Karimov's regime has some powerful neocon apologists like S. Frederick Starr of the Central Asia Caucasus Institute and people like Zeyno Baran of the Hudson Institute.

For some compelling background on the Andijon massacre, state propaganda in Uzbekistan and an expose of Karimov's lapdogs at home and in the West, see my wife Sarah Kendzior's article "Inventing Akromiya".

Update: There is a sad and touching tribute to Alisher on that's well worth reading.
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