Police in southern Kyrgyzstan continue their systematic persecution of minority ethnic Uzbeks, extorting, torturing and killing with impunity, says a prominent human rights group, citing the latest example of police beating an Uzbek to death.
It’s bad enough Uzbeks are being forbidden from rebuilding in Osh, after suffering the worst of the ethnic clashes last summer that left many of their neighborhoods smoldering ruins. Targeted police violence continues and few, if any, officials have been prosecuted. From Human Rights Watch’s latest news release:
The policemen allegedly tortured Khalmurzaev for several hours, trying to extort money from him in exchange for his release. He told his wife that as soon as he was taken into the station, the police put a gas mask on him and started punching him. When he fell down, one of the operatives, using his knees, jumped on Khalmurzaev’s chest two or three times. Khalmurzaev said he lost consciousness.
When he regained consciousness, he told his wife, the police threatened that if he did not pay, they would frame him on charges of involvement in an attack during the June 2010 violence. They finally agreed to accept $680, which his family brought, and he was released at about 8 p.m., his wife said. Police told him they would harm his family if he told anyone what had happened.
When he returned home, he could barely walk, his wife said, and his condition worsened the next day. He was taken to the local hospital, where he died early on the morning of August 9. He was hesitant to tell doctors about his injuries but before he died, told his wife, “They beat me to death.”
The New York-based watchdog has done excellent work documenting the pogroms and ongoing abuse targeting minorities in southern Kyrgyzstan.