Uzbekistan: U.S.-funded aid group accused of subversive activity

In a statement posted on a government Web site, Ulugbek Mukhammadiev of the Fund for Regional Politics wrote that the group's work in Uzbekistan's section of the troubled Fergana Valley "looks more like espionage and subversive activity" because it monitored "negative tendencies" and accessed "the situation in border areas."

The government-backed fund, made up largely of academics who back President Islam Karimov's policies, regularly criticizes foreign agencies and dissidents.

A Mercy Corps spokeswoman in Tashkent referred comment to the organization's country directors who were traveling in the valley and were not immediately reachable. The private, nonprofit organization based in the U.S. state of Oregon runs projects to improving living standards and situation of women in the poor, ex-Soviet republic, the AP rports.

The overpopulated valley, split between Uzbekistan and two other ex-Soviet republics, has been a source of ethnic tensions and religious extremism since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Karimov's government has been carrying out a sweeping campaign against foreign-funded aid groups and media, shutting many down or driving them out of the country.

The crackdown increased markedly following the May 2005 revolt in the valley's largest city, Andijan. Rights groups and witnesses say hundreds of unarmed demonstrators died when government troops brutally put down an uprising there; government officials blames Islamic radicals and say fewer than 200 people died.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team