Friday, October 14, 2005

One Brave woman

Report from the BBC:
An Uzbek woman says she saw government troops open fire on unarmed civilians during protests in Andijan in May. Her testimony, at the trial of 15 men alleged to have led the revolt, contradicts government accounts of what happened during the unrest.
Makhbuba Zakirova told the court that she saw soldiers shooting at people waving a white flag. "Even Hitler did not do such things," she said.

Mrs Zakirova said that after speaking out in court, she feared for her life and freedom.

Correspondents say her statement undermines three weeks of testimony in what many foreign observers had dismissed as a show trial.
Mrs Zakirova, 33, said she was walking with her children near the centre of town, when she came across the demonstration.
She said she stayed out of curiosity when she heard Uzbek President Islam Karimov was supposed to talk with the protesters. "There were people in helmets everywhere. I twice saw soldiers shooting from military vehicles. The shooting was intense," she said, the Reuters news agency reported.
As the protesters fled towards Kyrgyzstan, they used women's shawls as white flags. But it made no difference.
Mrs Zakirova was interrupted by the prosecutor, who asked: "Do you realise what you are saying? Are you sure?" She replied: "Are you going to arrest me now? I was telling only the truth, and you yourself asked me to give a truthful testimony... I am only saying what I saw."
Her testimony was consistent with accounts of refugees, but contradicted 100 other witnesses at the trial.

Updated: to incorporate some details from the report on the radio (BBC WS).


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