[With thanks to Sis. Hamdiyyeh in South Carolina.]
Uzbek Rulers Torture, murder and are
Allies in the
"War on Terrorism."
Uzbek mother jailed for six years
Some people have died in unusual circumstances in Uzbek jails
[Her son was tortured to death.]
A court in Uzbekistan has jailed an elderly woman at the centre of what
is being seen as a key human rights case.
Fatima Mukhadirova, 63, is the mother of a man who died in prison,
allegedly after he was immersed in boiling water and otherwise tortured.
She was arrested after she drew attention to her son's death and charged
with trying to undermine the constitution of Uzbekistan.
The judge handed down a maximum sentence of six years in a hard prison.
Mrs Mukhadirova was taken away in an armoured van, looking pale and drawn,
according to the
Monica Whitlock in Uzbekistan.
Her surviving children called out their goodbyes and handed the police
food to take to jail.
Most were crying.
Looking for justice
Mrs Mukhadirova was accused of distributing extremist literature - that is,
pamphlets propagating an
There had been a hope that she would be acquitted because her lawyer was
strong and independent.
That would have made history here, but it was a tiny hope,
our correspondent says.
Acquitting Mrs Mukhadirova would have raised questions about the
reliability of police evidence and the death of her son Muzafar.
He was convicted of belonging to an illegal religious group and died in
prison last year.
Human rights groups have said that he was immersed in boiling water,
but the government maintains that he had heart disease and died after
a fight with cell mates who threw scalding tea at him.
Photographs of the body appeared to show that his fingernails had been
The verdict passed on his mother sends a strong signal that there will be
no rethinking of official strategy towards people it regards as seditious,
our correspondent says.
Uzbekistan is a close ally of the
and the US embassy sent a local monitor to the trial.
Mukhadirova's lawyer, Alisher Ergashev,
argued in his summing up on Wednesday that authorities failed to prove
the leaflets found in Mrs Mukhadirova's home belonged to her because
she lives with 10 relatives.
Mirzakayum Avazov, Mrs Mukhadirova's youngest son,
said authorities "didn't like her making the circumstances of my brother's
"My mother was simply trying to defend her sons and looked for justice,
she only wanted those guilty of Muzafar's death to be punished,"
he said outside the courtroom.
2004-02-22 Sun 09:15ct